Aaron Heilman Gets New Start

From the “Where They Are Now” file …

After spending 2010 in Arizona’s bullpen, Aaron Heilman finally became a free agent and embarked on finding a team that would give him a chance to be a starter.

Heilman spent the entire winter evaluating the offers of various suitors, and wound up right back in Arizona — where the Diamondbacks are giving him a legitimate shot at a rotation spot.

Hat tip to my tweet buddy @citycynic.

If you are a longtime, loyal reader of MetsToday then you know my feelings regarding Heilman as a starting pitcher. If you’re not familiar with my stance, check out the links in my argument earlier this winter to consider him as a candidate for the Mets rotation.

Though the D-Backs have promised Heilman a legit shot at starting, and both manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers insist that the winners of the last two starting spots will not be affected by contracts and their associated finances, it would seem that Heilman has an uphill battle. He is one of three candidates for the two open spots, in competition with lefty Zach Duke — who has a one-year, $4.25M guaranteed contract — and Armando Galarraga, the nearly-no-hit artist who has a $2.3M deal. Youngster Barry Enright — who was 6-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 17 starts last year — also is in the running.

According to reports from the Cactus League, Heilman impressed in his first outing of the spring. We’ll see what happens over the next four weeks.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Dan March 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm
    9 up, 9 down today, which is what he’ll have to keep doing to win the job.
    Galarraga’s contract is not guaranteed, and Enright was brought up from AA last year, so he could use some AAA time to develop. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a trade or two if they all do well.
  2. Matt March 5, 2011 at 2:16 pm
    Where do you think Jarrod Parker fits into this rotation? I’m guessing he starts the season in the minors, but he’ll eventually be called up to stay. I think Parker and Hudson can be a lethal 1-2 punch in the near future.
    • Joe Janish March 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm
      Matt, I agree — Parker will likely start the year in AA or AAA and may get a callup at some point in 2011. Obviously, a lot depends on how he progresses in the minors after missing a year and a half after TJ surgery. If he’s anywhere near as good as people say, then yes — Parker and Hudson would be a formidable 1-2 punch.
  3. Dan March 8, 2011 at 6:55 am
    Not so good (5 runs, 3 earned) yesterday, but considering 2 wind (25 MPH+) assisted HRs and 3 errors it wasn’t that bad. Threw 48 pitches over 3 innings, including a fair amount of effective sliders, the pitch that was supposed to be one of his weaknesses. Still too early to be sure, but I think he’ll win the job.