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Pedro's Replacement Should Be......
Posted by David Martorano at 4/2/2008 12:38:00 AM
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Aaron Heilman. It’s been obvious to everyone around the team that Heilman has wanted to be a starter since he was permanently inserted into the bullpen around 3 or 4 seasons ago. The Mets for whatever reason (and these must be the same reasons that drove them to trade Milledge for scraps and Bannister for Burgos) have made it clear that they have no interest in using Heilman as a starting pitcher. For the past few seasons it almost seemed like the Mets had the option or luxury of not using Heilman as a starting pitcher. Well, they don’t have that option or luxury anymore. An injured El Duque cant be counted on to replace Pedro and they have no quality, ready arms in the minors. And trading for Jose Lima, Anthony Young or Kyle Lohse is a nauseatingly inadequate solution.

Heilman was drafted in the first round as a result of his dominance as a starting pitcher at Notre Dame. His most recent starting outings (2 or 3 years back) were extremely positive. He was basically dominant in back to back outings against Montreal or Washington and Florida (going by memory). In addition, Heilman wants to be a starter and conventional wisdom tells me that this is a good thing, not a bad thing.

This is a move the Mets need to make. Worst case scenario- he isn’t any good and they return him to the bullpen. Best case scenario- he is dominant and the bullpen is able to withstand his loss. The Mets need to step outside the box on this one and for once go against their “instincts”. They need to give Heilman a shot.


Your post is the reaction that many Mets fans will have and it's wrong. While Heilman wants to be a starter, there are several factors working against it. 1) He is a two-pitch pitcher, who in the past, never displayed the ability to throw a third pitch consistently for strikes or outs. 2) He is the team's set-up man with Duaner Sanchez out. It's robbing Peter to pay Paul by moving him out of his current role as Jorge Sosa and the other bullpen depth the team has are not really capable of filling that role now. If Sanchez was ready, maybe, but that is not the case. 3) Heilman wants to be a starter, yippee, but in this case, the player's desires should have no bearing on the decision. Of those seven starts he made in 2005, three were very good, one was average and three were crappy. His 2003 Triple-A numbers as a sterter were very good, but he spit the bit in the majors in '04 (save for his last four outings) and wasn't that great in the minors that season as well.

The Mets should have signed Kyle Lohse for depth and he would have been fine as the fifth starter if needed pitching at Shea. Now, the team may need to rely on both Mike Pelfrey and Orlando Hernandez, which most likely will be a dangerous endeavor. If the organization was smart, either trade for Steven Register, promote Nelson Figueroa, activate Sanchez when ready and stretch out Jorge Sosa to fill a starting role until/when/if Pedro is ready to return.
Posted by airjan23 at 4/2/2008 6:18:00 AM
Stretching out a bullpen guy right after the season started? Yuck. I think the more likely scenario here is that Heilman pitches more innings than usual. Like last night, he pitched two innings (having pitched one the day before). He's going to set a career high in innings, and if his WHIP and ERA stay at what they have been, and he can avoid an injury from overuse, he'll be one of the best middle relievers in baseball.
Posted by MPStopa at 4/2/2008 6:23:00 AM
Sosa threw 2.2 innings last night. He has shown the ability to go between both roles. They may need to stretch him out over a few weeks, but that seems a more likely scenario that moving Heilman. Also, if El Duque can be back when eligible on April 13, this conversation will be moot, but how many of us believe that to be the case?
Posted by airjan23 at 4/2/2008 6:47:00 AM
I guess my point was that they have no quality in house candidate outside of Heilman to replace Pedro (i dont even consider El Duque anymore) and trade options like Lohse are appalling. In addition, I think their bullpen would be able to withstand the loss of Heilman (Think Sosa, Feliciano, Wise, Eddie Kunz could also be called up).
Posted by djm1144 at 4/2/2008 7:20:00 AM
Willy Randolph just said today (or yesterday, not sure) that as long as he's the manager, Heilman is a reliever, so there goes that option. As Mark said, you don't make this move during the season - it just wouldn't work. It's going to be the 54 year-old El Duque.
Posted by vtadave at 4/2/2008 8:27:00 AM
Well if Willie says Heilman is no starter, Im gonna have to take his word for it. Guy would run a car wash into the ground.
Posted by djm1144 at 4/2/2008 8:48:00 AM

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