In today's NY Daily News - Aaron Heilman wants starting role with Mets or a trade - Heilman's agent, Mark Rodgers, informed the media that Heilman wants to be a Mets starter, or be traded. According to Rodgers, "The object the entire time has never been to get out of New York. The object is to get out of the bullpen. The most success he's ever had as a pitcher has been as a starting pitcher. He was drafted by the Mets as a starting pitcher."
Although I have always thought Heilman should be a starter, there isn't much to Rodgers claim. Heilman lifetime record as a starter is 5-13 with a 5.93 ERA - which was accumulated from 2003 - 2005 - his early years.
Heilman, is never disruptive in the clubhouse and addresses this subject only when asked, has longed to be a starter.
In fairness to Heilman in an unfair climate, he has done everything the Mets have asked: they told him to pitch during the Winter of 2005 in the Dominican League (after being moved to the bullpen in May of 2005), which he not only did, but dominated.
During the Grapefruit League in 2006, Heilman was arguably their best starter, with a 1.29 ERA and 11 strikeouts and no walks in 14 innings. He lost his starting role to Brian Bannister. Some feel the Mets were just 'appeasing' him, and were not inclined to use him as a starter.
Over the last two or three seasons, is Heilman any worse than: Jose Lima, Dave Williams, Tony Armas Jr., the late Geremi Gonzales, etc. - who all were afforded starting roles while Heilman languished in the bullpen?
Granted, Heilman had a real poor 2008 season, but we later found out he was hurt, with a bum knee. If the Mets are unable to land a Derek Lowe, re-sign Oliver Perez, might not Heilman be a less expensive alternative than a big name Free Agent who will want big bucks and a multi-year deal?
I truly would like to see the Mets give him a chance to start, but if not, Heilman should be traded, and when he goes on to win 15 games/year, I can't wait to hear all the Met fans moan and complain about what a bad trade the Mets made, when in fact, it was the fans who were clamoring for his ouster.
"The objective is not to be traded," Rodgers said. "The objective is to get out of the bullpen."
I have a feeling Heilman will go on to start for another team, and will only be a controversial memory to Met fans.