03.28.06

It’s Official : Bannister Wins 5th Spot In Mets Rotation, Heilman To Relieve

Posted in Baseball at 5:34 pm by

For those who’ve not followed the Mets’ seeming indifference towards Aaron Heliman, this might seem like a 3rd string quarterback controversy. But when there are questions marks surrounding spots 1-4 in the Mets rotation (Pedro’s toe, Glavine’s 80 mph fastball, Steve Trachsel and Victor Zambrano being, well, Steve Trachsel and Victor Zambrano) and Heilman was declared untouchable in at least one rumored offseason deal, at the very least, this is a 2nd string quarterback controversy. From Newsday’s David Lennon.

The bullpen phone rang for Aaron Heilman shortly before 9 o’clock yesterday morning, when the pitcher formerly known as the Mets’ No. 5 starter was called into the manager’s office and told his job title had changed.

Brian Bannister soon followed, and in a matter of minutes, the Mets had pulled off their best trade of spring training without going outside the organization. Or so they hope. Promoting Bannister on the strength of his Grapefruit League resume is a calculated risk, and giving him Heilman’s spot makes it even more so.

“I look at it as, ‘What makes our club better?’” manager Willie Randolph said. “Both deserve to be in the rotation. We have some questions with [Jorge] Julio coming in late and [Duaner] Sanchez getting acclimated. But Aaron [Heilman] just makes that nucleus out there that much better.

“That’s all. And that’s not to say really that this is etched in stone. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is about what’s best for the team at this point in time.”

The key word being “team.” Heilman was not exactly thrilled after receiving the news, and the Mets are fortunate he doesn’t have Jose Lima’s flair for public speaking or there may have been some early morning fireworks in the clubhouse.

The Mets are also fortunate Heilman doesn’t share Jose’s flair for pitching. Lima Time allowed 5 runs, all earned, in two innings of labor earlier today, as Florida beat New York, 12-7.

ESPN’s marketplace maven Darren Rovell reports that when and if Barry Bonds passes Henry Aaron’s all-time mark of 755 career home runs, Major League Baseball “will in some way formally celebrate.” As opposed to the day the Sultan Of Surly retires, a moment MLB plans to unofficially commemorate with a huge party most of us aren’t invited to.

Released by the Red Sox on Monday, 2B Tony Graffanino was picked up waivers today by Kansas City.

16 year veteran Marquis Grissom has declared his retirement after failing to land a job with the Cubs

2 Responses to “It’s Official : Bannister Wins 5th Spot In Mets Rotation, Heilman To Relieve”

  1. Marc says:

    My only concern is that Heilman becomes a bit upset and/or apathetic and doesn’t pitch his ass off as he’s done the past 8 months or so. Now he’s been shown that no matter how hard he tries and how awesome he may pitch in winterball, etc — he’ll still lose his slot to a guy with no real experience. That’s a bit demoralizing and hopefully he can stay focused, not ask for a trade, whatever and pitch brilliantly like last fall.

    I do think this is best for the team, at least until Bannister can’t hold his weight or (more likely) everyone realizes that Traschel is finally shitting the bed. If they have to cut Trax loose midseason to get Heilman (or Pelfry or someone else not 93 years old) into the rotation — so be it.

  2. Chuck Meehan says:

    This looks to me like the same thing Ryan Madson went through with the Phillies where they both came up through their respective teams systems as starting pitchers but did so well in the pen that their teams are antsy about taking them out (thankfully, Madson gets his shot in the Phils rotation this year). I have no knowledge of Bannister, and of course, Mets fans would have a better take than I, but from what I have seen of Heilman against the Phillies, I think he is a very promising pitcher. I may sound a bit oddly Mets-sympathetic for a Phils fan (I just want to see the NL East paradigm shift north and if the Phils dont knock off Atlanta, I dont mind if the Mets do) in saying that I would also hope that Heilman doesnt get frustrated and be ready to step in if one of the Mets starters cant hack it.

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