Currently, the Mets sport a rotation of Johan Santana , Mike Pelfrey, Jonathon Niese, RA Dickey, and Hisanori Takahashi. Dickey and Takahashi did not start the season in the rotation, but after John Maine and Oliver Perez hit the DL, Dickey and Takahashi took over.
As of right now Dickey and Takahashi are pitching very effectively, and are a big reason the Mets find themselves seven games over .500. With the likely return of Maine, the Mets should avoid tinkering with the success of the rotation and put Maine in the bullpen.
To start the season the Mets held out hope that John Maine and Oliver Perez would finally be able to put it together, and prove to be reliable pitchers in the rotation; however, neither impressed during their time with the team.
Oliver Perez, probably the player the Mets had the most staked on after awarding him a 3 year, 36 million dollar contract a season ago, played so poorly that the Mets tried hiding him in the bullpen. Unfortunately, he was just as ineffective there, and, after he refused a minor league assignment, the Mets banished him to the DL.
Maine’s story is a little more promising. He did not pitch very effectively to start, but after returning to being primarily a fastball pitcher Maine was able to pitch well enough to keep the Mets in games. The problem was he still had trouble pitching late into games and sustained an injury that forced him out of a game after throwing just five pitches. This came just before he landed on the DL.
Maine has recently thrown in a rehab game and is working his way back to the majors. The question is: Should the Mets put him back in the rotation? Right now, the Mets are clicking, and a big part of that is the current starting rotation.
In addition the bullpen has been more effective as pitchers are pitching six, seven, or more innings. In fact Pelfrey and Niese started back to back games where they pitched for nine innings. While Dickey and Takahashi will never be top-line starters, they are getting the job done right now and that should not be tinkered with. Especially in favor of a player that struggles to pitch five innings.
John Maine’s best career move looks like a transition to the bullpen. He has a lively fastball, but not a ton else, and like I keep mentioning, he has trouble going deep in to games. In the bullpen only one or two strong pitches are needed to be effective. It would be great to convert Maine into a set-up guy, or if we're lucky, an eventual cheaper option to K-Rod at closer when Frankie’s contract is up after next season.
While Dickey and Takahashi’s effectiveness might wane as the season continues, John Maine is not a good replacement. He has had numerous times to prove his worth, and outside of 2007 has failed to do so.