Congrats community! You have just signed John Lackey to a 5 year contract worth $80 million! Out of 75 votes, Lackey received 24 of them, with Joel Pineiro in a distant second place with 13. The community has $2.4 million left to spend for the rest of its positions, and a key issue is coming up!
Odds are, the Mets have a rotation of 5 people, and with Santana, Pelfrey, Perez and Lackey all but locks for their jobs, John Maine and Jon Niese are left to fight for the fifth spot in the rotation. This decision effects the Mets payroll for relief pitchers, catcher and first base indirectly as well, as payroll is becoming more and more finite.
So here are the options:
1. Start John Maine, start Niese in AAA - The advantage of this is that the Mets have John Maine in the rotation who is more of a guarantee than Niese, who hasn't had significant time in the MLB and is coming off of a big hamstring strain. Maine is a pretty solid pitcher who is pretty much a guarantee to get at least a 4.80 FIP and 5.30 tRA with the ability to bring it up to 4.10 and 4.30. Maine's issues are with injury (40 starts in past 2 years) and with some declining numbers (K/9 from 2007 to 2009: 8.48, 7.84, 6.09; tRA: 4.27, 4.90, 5.32) and also his troubles with command (nearly a walk every 2 innings). Niese would always be available to fill in for Maine if this is the chosen scenario. keeping Maine would subtract $0.3 million from the available payroll
2. Start Jon Niese, move John Maine to the bullpen - The advantage here is that the Mets already have a solution to their ailing bullpen in house, and it also gives a good young pitcher a chance to start. John Maine always had trouble the second time through the order, and perhaps a move to the bullpen will help this and allow his high walk rate. It's the same hit to the payroll, and kills two birds with one stone. The question is, how much do you trust Niese?
3. Start Niese, trade Maine away - The principle to this is the same as #2. It's that Niese should be entrusted a rotation spot for possibly the entire year. The difference between this and #2 is that the Mets get rid of Maine, a solid pitcher who could have been beneficial in multiple ways, and instead free up $2.7 million of the payroll to perhaps add a catcher, 1B, RP or a bench player or two. In return, the Mets could see a decent return in prospects or perhaps another player who could be beneficial. If you vote for this option, PLEASE provide a possible team to take him and/or possible players in return
4. Start John Maine, move Niese to the bullpen