By Mike Steffanos
The Aaron Heilman / Brian Bannister situation has been resolved, at least for now. Relatively minor controversies remain, unless the Mets decide to go north with Jose Lima or Yusaku Iriki. As fun as it's been to debate all of the moves from this past winter and this spring, it's starting to get a little old. Time to lay the cards on the table and see what all of these moves have wrought.
Aaron Heilman seems to have taken his return to the bullpen with class, which is nothing less than I would expect from him. Even when he was pitching terribly he always seemed like a good kid. My concerns about him being removed from the rotation were always about the best interests of the team. I'm not too worried about Aaron's psyche as some seem to be -- he'll be fine. For what it's worth, I understand the Mets' thinking in trying to build a dominant bullpen. It's funny how some members of the snobbish intelligentsia of baseball writers won't even consider the possibility that this might actually work. If it does, you wonder if they will belatedly give Omar a little credit. Hey, I've been against some of these moves, but it will be worth being proven wrong just to see that.
Now if only I can actually get the opportunity to see these games...
New York Post: Pedro on Bannister
Mark Hale has a great quote from Pedro Martinez on why he is impressed with rookie Brian Bannister:
To be honest, with what I've seen so far, he's ready to pitch. Very cool, very mature for a guy that played in Double-A last year. And pretty good stuff. He knows what he's doing. And he keeps learning and learning every day.
He keeps on asking questions. He's not afraid to do that. He's not afraid to see what he can pick up, and that's the only sign that tells you that he's going to improve more and more every day.
Bergen Record: Aaron Heilman
Steve Popper has a nice piece on yesterday's decision from Heilman's point of view.
Bergen Record: Brian Bannister
Steve Popper also has a great feature from Bannister's point of view.
Bergen Record: Seven Down
Steve Popper also reports on the 7 Mets reassigned to the minor league camp. They were lefty relievers Royce Ring and Juan Perez, Jeff Keppinger, Lastings Milledge, Tike Redman, Todd Self and Sandy Martinez. Ed Coleman was talking about Ring yesterday on WFAN, and said that he actually boosted his stock this spring. Keppinger never really had a chance -- it remains to be seen whether Anderson Hernandez can hit enough to keep the 2B job. Popper reports that Lastings Milledge, who played RF yesterday, will get some experience at that position in Norfolk in the event that Xavier Nady and Victor Diaz don't do the job.
Newark Star-Ledger: A bullpen spot based on merit
Don Burke opines that the struggles of both Jose Lima and Yusaku Iriki may have opened up a window of opportunity for Heath Bell, who has been pitching well. That's an interesting concept -- basing a decision on performance rather than on a contract.
More on the 1986 World Series DVD Set
On Mets.com, Bryan Hoch has a story on this collection. I wouldn't buy it for $90 when Amazon.com is selling it for $63, though. If anyone finds this set any cheaper than what Amazon is selling it for, please let me know and I'll pass that along.
MetsBlog is running a contest where they will giving away a set of those DVDs for free every day from today through Friday. Free is, of course, always the best price. Check out their contest here.
New York Mets: 1986 World Series
A&E Home Video
9 DVD Set