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Let Heilman Start… Somewhere Else

By Mike Silva ~ November 21st, 2008. Filed under: Mike Silva.

The Aaron Heilman starter vs. reliever discussion is now going on four years old. Everyone remembers the one hit shutout against Florida in 2005, but the truth is Heilman was very average as a starting pitcher that season (2-3, 4.71).

You can argue he never was given a full year to show what he can do. Having just two pitches doesn’t bode well when your expected to navigate a major league lineup at least twice in a game. At best I see Aaron Heilman producing a .500 record and ERA around 4.50. That would align with how Pedro Martinez pitched in the fifth starter role last season. You could also say that what Pedro gave the Mets wasn’t acceptable every fifth day. The real question is could moving Heliman to the rotation save money and improve the bullpen?

Knowing the price of starting pitching is outrageous what direction do the Mets go? Do you sign Oliver Perez and then scrap heap the fifth spot? Could Heilman do better then some “roll the dice” free agent? Do you try to sign Lowe and trade for Javier Vasquez and roll the dice with some relievers with decent arms? The way you have to look at it is Perez/Heilman vs. Lowe/Vasquez. I use Lowe and Vasquez because those are the names the Mets are most connected to this off season.

There is no debate about which tandem is better (Lowe/Vasquez), but do you feel comfortable with them long term? Could Oliver Perez/Heilman make more sense because you can spend more money on the bullpen? Do you feel comfortable giving the ball to Heilman every fifth day?

I believe the answer is no. I think, regardless of the role, Aaron Heilman needs to start over somewhere else. I have discussed this with NYBD contributor Doug Sisk both on and off the air. If anyone would know how hard it is to win over a demanding fan base, it’s Sisk. In my opinion, Heilman simply doesn’t have the makeup for New York anymore. Yadier Molina essentially sealed that deal.

Heilman provided an important role in the bullpen. It’s sad that the Molina homer will be Mets fans lasting memory of him. Despite the one hitter, outstanding setup innings in 06/07, and being accessible to the media Heilman will go down as a disappointment. A good guy like him deserves a second chance. Lets not forget he still has value and probably could garner a decent set up arm in return.

Give Aaron Heilman his release from the bullpen and make him a starter, just do it somewhere other then Citi Field.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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