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Heilman a Reliever

Mike SteffanosTuesday, March 28, 2006
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.

More Mets Stories:
SportsSpyder Mets
Pro Sports Daily Mets

Comments (8)

I think the real crime here was committed by Omar. Heilman had to go back to the pen because Omar did a crappy job with his trades or Seo and Benson. It amazes me how this guy traded away two quality pitchers and STILL could not sure up a bullpen.

Hey Chris. I like Sanchez. Hated to see Seo go but I think in the long run that trade will look good. Julio -- well, if that one winds up looking good, we'll all have to bow down to Omar's genius.

If one or more of the 'pen guys step up, I still think Heilman winds up starting this season. I do honestly like Bannister, too.

Heilman was promised a spot in the rotation last Oct. A trip to winter ball to showcase his ability. The day of his start he gets pulled. Minaya and Randolph can only trade and destroy talent. This is all I have seen. Mike Jacobs is starting and hitting cleanup for the marlins. They put some team together with a payroll under 20 million. I spent 2 days there in February. I met Mike Jacobs and gave him my views. He is all I think of him and more. A motivated, talented, and as serious as it gets. For the mets the season is over. Their spring record is 14-13, while the marlins are 19-6. All of this could have been so different.

Ed, I think you're jumping the gun declaring the season over. Keep in mind that Heilman is still on the team. Do you really think the Marlins will finish ahead of the Mets once the real games start?

The mets have messed with this guys head for to long. I feel he is going to ask to be traded. I see no management skills on the mets in any capacity. Joe Girardi is head and shoulders over Willie Randolph. The marlins will outplay the mets this year. The talent and leadership are in place. They sent 2 players down who were hitting over 400 due to a lack of room on the roster. Stokes and Andino. The mets have shot the year with ridiculous signings and worse trades.

Ed, I respect your opinion, but Heilman will be fine. You have let yourself become too negative about things. Relax a little. You know, sometimes stuff they do bothers me, but I keep in mind that this is a GAME and supposed to be FUN. The Marlins put a priority on winning spring games to build some confidence, that's why they have a good record. Once the season starts they will be lucky to win 75 games.

Dear Mike - I spent two days observing all aspects of that team. I saw talent at every position. These players are not household names yet. By May every fan will know who they are. This team will be the surprise of baseball. I am looking foward for the first 30 games.

Thank You for your thoughts.

Ed, the Mets won 83 games last year with Looper as closer and a bunch of guys that hit .220 playing first for most of the year. If you don't think they're at least a little better than they were last year, I don't know what to say. I wish Mike Jacobs well, because he seemed like a great kid. I was sorry to see him go. Other than him, the Marlins hold no interest for me. I'm a Mets fan.

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