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Mets Can't Afford To Be Held Up By Glavine's Indecision

Mike SteffanosFriday, November 10, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

I returned from my short vacation last night. As much as I enjoyed it, it felt good to return to all of the good things of home. [Begin shameless suck up] While Lisa is, of course, right at the top of that list [end suck up], I also appreciate returning to a good computer with access to all of the latest news on things I care about such as the New York Mets. Then again, while things were happening in the world this week, not much was happening with the Mets.

Unlike last winter, where Omar and the Mets had target players that they aggressively pursued, this hot stove season has started slowly and really hasn't warmed up much at all to this point. Although there seems to be no shortage of those in the media who seem to be more than willing to definitively speak to the thinking of Omar Minaya, the Mets GM hasn't really tipped his hand all that much as to what he finds attractive in the marketplace. The GM meetings take place next week, and if Omar is looking to make a trade, perhaps something will take place then. Of course, it might be rather helpful to Omar's plans if Tom Glavine would make up his mind where he wants to play next year.

As quoted by Marty Noble on Mets.com, Glavine is less than definitive as to what his ultimate wishes might be:

I'm a little surprised that I have so little sense of what I'm going to do. I'm listing all the positives for [the Mets and Braves] in columns and trying to assess what I have as educatedly as I can. I don't want to jump at any one thing, and I'm trying not to be overly influenced by how much I'm enjoying myself being home now.

For what it's worth -- and I'm always careful to point out that I have no "inside" sources -- I'm beginning to suspect that Tom Glavine would go back to Atlanta if he could pry a decent deal out of them. I don't believe his coyness has anything to do with getting more out of the Mets, I think he's trying to get the Braves to make him a viable offer. In Noble's article, Glavine gives somewhat of a timetable:

I pretty much told [Mets COO Jeff Wilpon] that I won't hang him up on this, that I'll probably let him know before the winter meetings.

Given that the winter meetings aren't until the first week of December, that's not all that helpful for the Mets. I'm sure they want to have their "Plan B" options moving well before then. Sadly, as quoted by the New York Post's Kevin Kernan, Glavine's agent Gregg Clifton is no more specific or useful:

Tom is going to take his time and look at all the factors.

If things drag on with Glavine much longer, the Mets might do very well to proceed as if he's not returning and act accordingly. Minaya has done a good job of not allowing players to hold up the team's actions since he's taken over. I'd keep that thought going with Glavine. The Mets can't afford to allow Tom Glavine's flirtation with Atlanta to dictate their postseason plans.

Aaron Heilman
No offense to those of you who are working overtime to punch Aaron Heilman's ticket out of town, but given all of the uncertainty with the Mets pitching next year, I'd be extremely wary of giving up Heilman unless it brought pitching back to the team. Besides the Glavine situation with the starting rotation, in the bullpen you have Duaner Sanchez returning from serious injury and Guillermo Mota sitting in limbo for the first third of the season.

I honestly don't know why so many take Aaron Heilman for granted. He's young, talented and cheap. Most importantly to me, he has proven he can pitch in New York in high-pressure roles. He's been the target of boo-birds and has not been buried by that. When you bring someone in from the outside, you can only hope they can handle the whole New York experience. Heilman has already proved he can. Don't discount that. There may well be a deal sitting out there that makes sense where Heilman gets dealt. Too often, however, I read trade rumors involving Aaron that just don't make sense.

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Comments (6)

Amen on Heilman, Mike. While he's not the sexiest, flashiest name among the Mets' arms, he's done what the team's asked him to do and acquitted himself well.

There's a question mark next to Pedro, and Glavine, and El Duque, and Sanchez...and I didn't even think we would wait on Mota the Juicer to finish serving his time before moving on without him.

The only question mark next to Heilman is where he can best fit the Mets' needs next year. And most definitely, being able to handle the pressure cooker of New York is an intangible that a lot of people blow off as inconsequential. It's not (see "Samuel, Juan").

I see beer-nuts volII in the near future:

1.Glavine; http://hotfoot.metsblog.com/blog/_archives/2006/11/10/2490778.html
i was stoked then I read further. Glavine had his moments but at 42 I'm not sure he is the front end starter Omar needs. he was Ok in the playoffs but lost a big oppurtunity to deliver vs the Cards. The mets per article are expected to decline the 14M option..(Zito money...).
b. While not advocating Zito, I think 14M needs to go to a more reliable front end starter.

2. Heilman: I cannot applaud Aaron enuff for his turn around. But as u have said his chances of starting in NY are slim. Now that Humber Bannister and Pel are near ready there is no pressing NEED for Aaron to be in the rotation. Plus Ollie and Maine figure to be your #3 and #4 guys. We need a #1 and a #2. Its not that Aaron has lost luster. But Aaron has set the formula, and I think that set up guy will come from the minors and I can see Humber in Aaron's role. note his segway in Sept. The advantage is Humber has 3+ pitches, but needs arm strength. He wont start. I like Aaron, but I still see him that pitcher who CAN net a return. And there will be many non tenders who can fill that role who want to be Mets.

Note the Tigers gave up Humberto Sanchez today.........a pitcher I long called for omar to to try to pry away.

Mike, welcome back. I've always felt that Heilman has never gotten enough respect from fans or Met management for his ability to start and relieve effectively(and to do it in NY). Unless the Mets can get a #1 or #2 starter in a trade for him, Heilman has to stay. With Pedro out, Trachsel's 15 wins and his starts gone, Glavine 42 and possibly headed to Atlanta, Mota's suspension and Sanchez coming back from a serious injury to his pitching shoulder, having Heilman around seems like a no-brainer(even if the Mets probably won't let him start.....can't figure out why Peterson can't come up with a 3rd pitch for him?). He's been pretty good; I have never understood the desire to so easily dismiss him in some circles.

Welcome back Mike. I think it's time to rebuild the top of the rotation and go all out and get a #1 and a #2 starter. Forget about Glaven and Pedro for now and concider they are not there. Go and do what has to be done while pitchers are still available and get your top two starters and "if" Glavin and Pedro come around after that, its a plus. I think the O Man is looking where nobody else is, he has done that before. While names are flying around all over the place he comes across with a trade that becomes a no brainer and a pleasant surprise with names that were not concidered.

Heilman is not that young any longer, although I like him-I wonder if Barfield could have been acquired by the Mets? His stats indicate that he will be a pretty good 2B, esp offensively and he is 23- THAT would have been nice-Wright, Reyes, Barfield- all 23-24

NostraDennis - It's amazing how much talent and/or money people are willing to give up to bring someone here when no one has a clue how that person will handle New York.
Ed - You and I will never agree on Heilman. While it's easier to find relievers than starters, finding an eighth inning guy who can handle NY isn't the easiest thing to do. And while I said that the Mets don't seem inclined to offer Heilman a rotation job, I never said I agreed with it. He has an above-average fastball and a terrific change, and has added a decent cut fastball this year. If he can improve his slider to just average I think he has enough pitches to be a good major league starter.

And as I said above, any trade that sends Heilman away needs to net a young pitcher in return.
George - as stated above, he does have more than a fastball and changeup. I'd like to see him get the chance to start unless he's part of a trade for a quality pitcher. The worst that can happen if it doesn't work out is a return to the bullpen.
Rev - I'm not sure how many number one and two guys are floating around out there, but I agree with you that it's time to move on to other options. At this stage of his career I think Glavine is a number 3 starter anyway.
Luis - I liked Barfield, but I still think they have to worry more about getting pitchers in here. They can piece it together at 2B for now.

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