New Starter To Come from Within?
Now I’ve heard everything.
First the Orioles reject a juicy deal for Eric Bedard (thank god). Then the Mets are players, not players, then players, then out of it, then back to being players (maybe), for Johan Santana. Whatever, I don’t care anymore. Then AJ Burnett could be had for cheap … oh, no, not really, Toronto was just kidding. Meantime Dontrelle Willis gets spun out of the National League with Miguel Cabrera in a package of minor leaguers. Next we’re told that Billy Beane isn’t trading any of his young starters, and if he is, it won’t be to the Mets. Plus we found out that the Mets were “too late to the party” for Hiroki Kuroda, a 33-year-old who was less than dominant in Japan and is seeking a four-year deal — and we’re supposed to be disappointed about this. Next we’re hearing that David Wells is interested in the Mets — again, like we care? In addition, depending on who you listen to (or read), the Mets are “very interested” in Livan Hernandez, or “have no interest” in him at all. There’s been no rumor of the Mets talking to Carlos Silva nor Jason Jennings, though much speculation. As if all this wasn’t insane enough, some are spouting that the Mets’ “big” acquisition this winter could be either Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon.
But that’s not all. In this whirlwind of a week, the latest to come out is Ed Coleman on WFAN yapping about the Mets moving Aaron Heilman back to the starting rotation.
Naturally, we can’t trust Coleman, since he’s the same guy who said the Mets were down on Luis Castillo because he was a bad influence on Jose Reyes. Is this Heilman stuff another of Ed’s wild opinions that he’s passing off as “inside information”, or could there really be some consideration of such a move by the Mets brass?
Those of you who have been reading MetsToday since its inception (yes, BOTH of you) probably remember my constant pestering about moving Heilman back into a starter’s role. In fact, it was something I wrote about once every three days (or so it seemed) during most of 2005-2006. OK, maybe not that often, but enough to annoy most people. I finally gave up on the idea with one last suggestion this past May.
For those who signed on here late, you can check these links: Aaron Heilman’s Elbow, Why Heilman Must Start, Heilman In the Pen, Another Heilman Harangue, Haren, Heilman or Harden (which eerily looks as though it could have been written this week and not a year ago)Heilman or Bannister, and my personal favorite, Aaron Heilman: Dispelling the Myths. These man-crush-like articles are some of my best writing, I think, possibly because I’ve felt so strongly on the subject of Heilman in the rotation.
Finally, though, I gave up on the cause. I’m now certain that Omar Minaya wouldn’t make the switch specifically because I kept writing so logically about it, waited for me to stop the campaign, let the issue cool a while, and THEN he considers the reversion publicly so it would sound like his idea.
OK, it’s my fantasy, let me live it!
If it’s true that the Mets will step away from the table and end trade discussions for Bedard, Santana, Burnett, etc., and instead move Heilman to a starting role, I’ll be quite happy, as I prefer the Mets hold onto the few prominent youngsters they have if they won’t bring back someone like Danny Haren or Johan Santana. At this point, I don’t think Aaron will be a #1-type ace, but I do believe he can be a very strong #3 and possibly a solid #2. My support and facts are in the various aforementioned articles, so I won’t re-state them here. Further, I would feel very comfortable starting 2008 with a rotation consisting of Pedro, El Duque, Maine, Perez, and Heilman. An ace would be nice, but I don’t think it would be necessary to reach the World Series. Did the Big Red Machine of the mid-1970s have an ace? Did the LA Dodgers of the late 70s have an ace? Did the 2007 Rockies have an ace? What about the ’05 White Sox, the ’02 Angels, or the ’00 Mets for that matter? Go and check the rosters yourself, or take my word for it — no, none of those World Series clubs had a Josh Beckett or a Roy Oswalt. It’s nice to have a guy like that on your squad, but if you don’t, you can still get to the big show.
“But Joe,” you’re saying, “just yesterday you wrote that the Mets couldn’t afford to lose Heilman from the bullpen! ‘splain yourself, please!”
It’s true — I did state that. But here’s my thinking. If Heilman goes to the rotation than one or both of Mike Pelfrey and Phil Humber would have to also make a transition OUT of the rotation. In addition, the Mets would have to sign Octavio Dotel, and/or acquire another legit setup man, either by hook or by crook. Maybe they give in to Luis Vizcaino’s ridiculous demands. Or perhaps they buy into Kip Wells’ agent’s bright idea that his client is perfectly suited for setup duty. The Mets set up these fallback options in the event that Duaner Sanchez and/or Juan Padilla don’t recover fully, and/or don’t return to their previous efficiencies.
It’s not a terrible idea. What do you think? Would you be satisfied with that five-man rotation, knowing that another reliever was coming into to help pick up the slack?