By Mike Steffanos
Thanks to MetsBlog for this bit of news, Ed Coleman has reported on WFAN that Aaron Heilman has been told by the team that he will be heading to the bullpen. I'm happy for Brian Bannister, who seems like a really great kid.
I've made my thoughts on this clear over the past day or so, and feel no need to beat you over the head with them again. I do understand the logic behind the move, I just hope that the Mets have enough quality in their rotation. We'll see. Thanks to all of you that shared your thoughts on this matter, whether you agreed with me or not.
Bergen Record: The Fifth Starter
Steve Popper writes about the battle for the fifth starter job. Popper offers quotes from both Aaron Heilman and Brian Bannister on the competition:
Heilman: I've done all I can do. Just go out there and pitch, do the best I can every time I get the ball. I'm not going to worry about it because it's not my decision.
Bannister: I'd be lying to you if I said there weren't things going through my head.
I think coming in the beginning of spring training it was easier to pitch because I didn't have any pressure on me. Now I've done what I've done so far and I think people are watching.
It's one of those things, you're working hard and baseball is a crazy game. Things can change so fast, like the first inning, I've had a very good spring and all of a sudden it's bases loaded, no outs and it's not that you're nervous, but one good hit out there and it can all end. Those are tests you have to pass as a player to graduate to the highest level of the game.
I thought Bannister's answer was one of the more real and heartfelt responses you'll ever hear in this sophisticated media-savvy age. I like the kid more every day.
Daily News: More Heilman
Speaking of thoughtful answers, Adam Rubin had a nice one from Aaron Heilman regarding being a reliever again after looking strong as a starter:
I don't think there's anything more really I can do to plead my case. I would certainly be disappointed. I feel like I've done everything I can do.
I feel more comfortable [as a starter] when I'm in a routine and I have a schedule. Is it to say that I'm not going to be a reliever at some point in my career? No. But I'd like to give starting a wholehearted try before I'm in the bullpen. I went to the bullpen last year not because I pitched badly. It was because they needed me there. Was I happy about it? No. Am I going to go down there and do my job? Yeah. It doesn't behoove anybody to go down there and pitch poorly.
New York Times: Last Minute Choices
Ben Shpigel breaks down the decisions still to be made before the Mets break camp.
The Journal News: Billy Wagner
John Delcos presents a nice profile of the new Mets closer.
Bergen Record: Be Like David
Steve Popper reports that David Wright wants to lead like Derek Jeter does for the Yankees. Just be David, that will be good enough.