Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Growing

This talk about Aaron Heilman becoming a starter isn't going away ... like the Blob, it keeps growing and growing. That's because unlike the past where the Mets organization has been universally behind Heilman as a reliever, we now have a groundswell of support for Heilman: Starter.
"I'm all for Aaron coming to Spring Training as a starter." -Dan Warthen

"For Aaron's benefit and for us as a team, we have to explore that option." -Jerry Manuel
Since Heilman has taken the "Start Me or Trade Me" stance, it's tempting to offer to not only pay Heilman's moving expenses out of town, but to help him pack.

It's very tempting.

I guess it all depends on your idea of changing the culture of the bullpen. If Aaron Heilman is a starter, does that count as reworking the pitching staff? Or does Heilman have to be completely gone for you to feel better about the direction of the team?

Think about the following:

What if Heilman were to finally get his Christmas wish and start? He would finally get his Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time. Wonderful. What if he gets completely shelled his first few starts? What if those first few starts were to come at home in front of a drunk, bitter, lathered up fan base? "You finally got your wish and yooooou bleeeeeeeeeeeew iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit! You blew it." Then what? He can't relieve and he can't start. Whatever trade value he has left (which isn't much unless Dan O'Dowd really wants to get rid of Huston Street) is gone. Heilman will have committed the baseball equivalent of shooting his eye out.

Now, what if Heilman were to be traded? Let's say it's for Street, and Heilman becomes a monster in Colorado? With Omar Minaya seemingly the lone dectractor of Aaron Heilman as a starter, would the success of Street be the determining factor as to whether Minaya keeps his job or not? Because with Warthen, Snoop, and Jeff Wilpon seemingly in Aaron's corner, a Heilman trade has the potential of putting Minaya on the (baseball cliche coming ... duck) hot seat.

While we're knee deep in rampant speculation, let's add this layer: What if Minaya makes a quick Heilman trade, and then finds out that Oliver Perez is going to the Dodgers and Derek Lowe is going back to Boston? Now what? Omar would then have holes in the back of the rotation, which may turn into the middle of the rotation if, say ... John Maine decides he wants to officially be "injury prone". These are scenarios the Mets have to think about and weigh against each other.

I'm going to make a prediction: I think Heilman's going to start ... for the Mets. Why? Well think about it: Who wants Heilman at this point? What can the Mets hope to get for him that will help the 2009 roster? And if those returning parts aren't going to help in '09, then those parts will most likely not be anything of major league value in the future either. Letting Heilman start would improve your bullpen in the fact that ... well, Heilman's not there anymore. And you have more room to sign Joe Beimel and Juan Cruz to help the pen if you haven't already lost your first round pick by signing Lowe.

Now you would still have to sign Lowe, or re-sign Perez if Lowe's contract demands make Oliver Perez the cheap option (don't look too hard for the irony of that statement). But if you get one of them, Heilman would be a fifth starter. What would you rather have: Heilman as your fifth starter, or Heilman lighting games on fire in the seventh inning? Or Heilman in the North Pole with Santa Claus wrapping up Red Ryder air rifles?

Nah, he'll shoot your eye out.


MetFanMac said...

*sigh* Who said being a Mets fan was easy?

One thing's for certain--I do NOT NOT NOT want to see him coming out of the CitiField bullpen. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Not sure I agree. To me, Heilman has exhausted any rights he may have had to demand anything. Is his fat change-up going to become effective when thrown in innings 1 through 5? Will he suddenly be able to throw strikes? Does Aaron even have an effective third pitch? And, are were ready to insert Heilman as the no. 5 starter in place of Lowe or even Niese?

Trade value - you've got a point here. But if Colorado wants him so bad, and is willing to put up Houston Street, I'd jump at it.

weesle909 said...

Trade him or start him. They have to do one or the other. If you can get value, trade him.

But I can see your scenario where he starts, gets shelled at home and can't recover. The fans will have no patience.

Then we end up with nothing.

Anonymous said...

I think I just barfed again. (this time not from the illness I currently have)

I can't say this enough. I hate Heilman.


upstate met fan said...

Let him start. He can't be any worse than the nonexistant El Duque and Pedro Martinez... can he? I'm praying that if he does start he ends up with a 15 and 7 record... It would be nice to cheer the guy for a change. BUT we all know what's gonna happen.

fink said...

starting him is the only option. he's worth very little as bullpen trade bait, and is worthless in our bullpen. giving him a starting job will make him prove himself, something he never had the desire to do from the bullpen. maybe that desire will be just enough to either get 15-20 quality starts out of him, or get his trade stock up so that somebody wants him at the end of july.

Unknown said...

I think moving him to the starting rotation is a smart move for two reasons. First, he just does not have the mentality for a late inning bullpen role. (i.e., he sucks). But, the guy has good stuff, and simetimes great stuff. In the pen, if he gives up a HR in the 7th or 8th inning, as he's prone to do, he's a failure. But starting pitchers can afford to give up a run or two over seven innings, and I can see Heilman doing exactly that. It's worth a try, because as a proven failure in the pen and as an unproven starter, his trade value is far below his potential worth.