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Biggest Key: Maine and Perez



By Mike Silva ~ February 22nd, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva.

I was a guest on The Happy Recap Radio Show last night. An interesting point was brought up during the segment regarding what is the biggest key to a successful 2010 campaign for the Mets. Are John Maine and Oliver Perez the two most important players on this team? More so, can they survive a bad season from one, much less both?

Even with Johan Santana at the top of the rotation, the Mets already have a question mark, like most teams, in the number five hole. That spot will either be filled by a rookie (Jonathan Niese), an unproven (Fernando Nieve), or a veteran without a track record in Nelson Figueroa. Although each has some interesting upside, none can make you feel comfortable regardless of their spring performance. That is where Maine and Perez come into play.

We have seen the best of both these individuals. In 2007, under the tutelage of Rick Peterson, the duo provide 368 innings and pitching well above the league average. Maine had an ERA+ of 110 and Perez 121. Since then, both have been injured, inconsistent, and left you with more questions than answers. This is a crossroads for both players and they need to be more 2007 and less 2009 for the Mets to succeed.

What is acceptable? The minimum should be what they provided in 2008, essentially league average starts. In the case of Maine his season ended early because of shoulder problems. The problem with “average” performance out of these two is you are asking Johan Santana to be great (likely) and Mike Pelfrey to perform as a solid #2 pitcher (less likely) as he did  for most of the back half of 08′. If one, or both, break down you can’t guarantee length and quality from any of the alternatives. We all know how expensive acquiring a starter midseason can be. Even the remaining free agents (Smoltz, Washburn, Martinez), are not guarantees anymore.

I don’t think either pitcher can be better than 2007, but repeating that performance is not out of the realm of possibility. Fans don’t feel very good about this starting staff, but let’s not forget in 2007 they entered the year with aging Tom Glavine and El Duque as their top starters. At one point that year Brian Lawrence was making big starts for the organization. The Mets rotation depth is in a far better place today.

If healthy, Maine and Perez are just as good, if not better, than any of the free agent targets not named Lackey this offseason. Their performance this spring certainly will change the outlook regarding this team for better or worse. They very well could be the most important key to a successful 2010 season.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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3 Responses to Biggest Key: Maine and Perez

  1. USMF

    I’d say that Maine, Ollie and Big Pelf are the biggest keys to success.

    For Defense, we should be solid in the OF, stronger on the right side. The infield should be very good on the left side with some holes on the right. And the D up the middle should be solid.

    The offense has questions; health of Beltran and Reyes, return of Wrights power, how Bay will respond, who is Francoeur really and will Murphy continue to grow or has he peeked? But all things considered, this line up should be solid enough to win.

    We don’t really know much about who’s gonna fill out the pen and in what roles. I think the bullpen’s biggest concern (again) is going to be overuse and being over exposed. (biggest problem I believe we had in 07 and 08).

    Now that comes back around to Maine, Ollie and Pelf. We can’t have these guys going out everyday going 4 2/3 giving up three runs and leaving runners in scoring position. We need any two of the three to combine for 400+ innings and a sub 4.00ERA (preferably sub 3.50ERA) and for them to average more six innings a game.

    I think quality starts stat is pretty poor stat when evaluating someones worth and effectiveness. But I thinks it’s very important for team consistency for you middle of the rotation to be able to put up quality starts severial times a week.

  2. hdarvick

    What exactly does this mean: “or a veteran without a track record in Nelson Figueroa. Although each has some interesting upside, none can make you feel comfortable regardless of their spring performance.”

    Does that mean that even if Figueroa has a great Spring, following a very good August to October as part of the 2009 Mets rotation for the first time (3.38 ERA in 50.1 innings in 8 games, averaging 6+ innings per game, pitching into the 7th inning), you still would not feel comfortable with him on the mound every fifth day? I’m not even counting his 1.64 ERA for the Escogido Leones in the 2010 Dominican Winter League championship or his 1.00 ERA for the DR in the 2010 Caribe Series; Ken Oberkfell, former Mets coach who now manages the Buffalo Bisons, was his manager in the Dominican and I’m sure has already filed his report with Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya.

    Does “track record” mean before 2009, maybe back to 2008 or 2007 or earlier? You mean like skier Bode Miller who was 0 for 5 in medals in the 2006 Olympics and has already won gold, silver, and bronze in 2010?

  3. Mike Silva

    hdarvick

    I am a big Figueroa fan. Bottom line is he hasn’t done it for a full season, so to say he has a track record would be unfair- no?

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