Maine, 29, was not tendered a contract at Thursday's deadline for arbitration-eligible players to be offered the right to have a hearing to set their 2011 salaries. He made $3.3 million last season while being limited to 39 2/3 innings by shoulder woes, necessitating the organization's decision, since a player must make at least 80 percent of his previous year's deal in arbitration.
Right-handed reliever Sean Green and outfielder Chris Carter were also cut loose by the Mets at the deadline. Green made $975,00 this past season. Carter had less than three years of major league service and was not yet arbitration-eligible.
The Mets' other arbitration-eligible players -- right-handers R.A. Dickey and Mike Pelfrey and outfielder Angel Pagan -- are integral members of the organization and were offered the right to arbitration, as expected.
Dickey, who should be eligible for free agency after next season, hopes to negotiate a multiyear deal at some point this offseason in lieu of going to arbitration or settling on a one-year contract.
Maine underwent season-ending surgery July 23 to repair a tear in the capsule in his right shoulder, and recently said he is recovering well.
Despite diminished velocity in recent years that hampered his ability to put away batters with his signature fastball up in the zone, Maine's tenure with the Mets will be remembered favorably.
Acquired from the Baltimore Orioles with right-handed reliever Jorge Julio for right-hander Kris Benson on Jan. 21, 2006, in a deal negotiated with former Mets GM and then-Orioles executive Jim Duquette, Maine played an intergral role during that year's postseason for the Mets.
He tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a Game 6 victory in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals with the Mets facing elimination. That served as a springboard to a 15-win season in 2007, matching left-hander Oliver Perez for the team lead in victories.
However, shoulder woes began to undermine Maine's career.
Team doctors David Altchek and Struan Coleman arthroscopically removed a bony growth from Maine's right shoulder socket at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on Sept. 30, 2008. However, the shoulder continued to nag Maine the following season, which he attributed to scar tissue irritating a nerve.
The issue came to a head on May 20 of this past season in Washington, when Maine was pulled against his will after five pitches, during which he failed to exceed 85 mph during a walk to Nyjer Morgan.
Maine lashed out at the staff.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen responded that Maine was a "habitual liar" with respect to his injuries. Warthen's comment was part of a larger quote actually intending to compliment Maine for being a warrior, who put his long-term health at risk to continue to pitch through pain. Despite the intent, the phrase took on a life of its own.
Maine never appeared in another major league game for the Mets. He made two rehab appearances in the minors before undergoing surgery in Philadelphia with a doctor unaffiliated with the Mets to repair the capsule tear.
The decision to cut loose Maine was obvious, since any salary would have been based off of this year's $3.3 million salary.
The verdict with Green, 31, was far more intriguing and continued to be internally debated by the Mets as the deadline approached, according to a team official.
The lone remaining piece from the three-team, 12-player trade that also landed right-handed reliever J.J. Putz and outfielder Jeremy Reed during the winter meetings two years ago, Green had an injury-marred 2010 season.
Warthen had the reliever, who threw from a low, three-quarters arm slot with the Seattle Mariners, convert to a Chad Bradford-style submarine motion last spring training. Green faulted the unfamiliar motion for causing a stress fracture in a rib that caused him to land on the disabled list after one April appearance with the Mets. He did not return to the major league club until September.
Under the former regime running the Mets, Green appeared certain not to be tendered a contract. However, the Mets have an ultra-thin relief corps currently under the organization's control. And the hiring of a new front office also reopened dialogue about retaining Green.
With left-hander Pedro Feliciano declining arbitration Tuesday and likely departing along with fellow free agent southpaw Hisanori Takahashi, the Mets otherwise had only two established relievers currently under their control as the tender deadline approached -- closer Francisco Rodriguez and right-hander Bobby Parnell.