A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

All Work And No Play Makes Michael Go Something..Something

I have no time for a post today, but here are some highlights on the debate about the starting rotation. I'll throw some thoughts in tomorrow.
I like debating this but truly feel Heilman is NOT our long term solution as a starter and neither is Lima / Maine / Soler BUT all three and even Oliver are somewhat reliable guys that can keep us afloat until we can get a hired gun. I have my preference (Lima / Maine) but if we go another route I’m not going to be calling for heads either. The only way I’m calling for a head is if we are still running Trax, Bannister, Lima/Maine/Gonzalez out there as our 3,4,5 after the trading deadline if someone would could slide into #3 for a pennant run like Zito/Schmidt/ElDuque was available for less than Milledge and we didn’t get it done.
~Tom Ace / Tom in the QC
Heilman has to be in this rotation. There’s no value to having a shut-down top three in the pen right now. Pedro and Glavine can go 6++ IP, and Sanchez/Wagner can pick up the rest of the game themselves. Lima/Gonzalez (oh… my… lord…) are good for 5 IP. We’re going to need more than just the big three there, assuming we magically have a lead. The only added value a third reliever of Heilman’s caliber gives is when Trax pitches and goes 6 inning, which hasn’t been often.
I still maintain the Mets should NOT weaken a very strong area to shore-up the rotation. THAT makes no sense to me. Find a starter from within the system or make a trade, plenty of do-able options out there and I highly doubt a decent 3-4 type would cost us Milledge (although if DTrain becomes available, I will pack Milledge’s bags for him).
Whoever it is, it has to be someone the umpires are impressed by, otherwise they will never get the outside part of the plate.
No to more starts by Lima, yes to more photos of Mrs. Lima in tight blouses:) (link from peeder..don't check it out if you don't like boobs..you have been warned)

Seriously, Bannister will be off the DL soon, and that takes care of one slot. I’d rather use Heilman to start, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Meanwhile, play it by ear–I would like to try Oliver against a team that’s vulnerable to LH pitching (you know, like the Mets).
MFS71 - I agree but unfortunately there is no one in the organization right now unless you rush Pelfrey. I don’t think Gonzalez, Lima and Maine are the answers for a team trying to win a division for the first time since 1988. Also, making a trade is easier said than done. Most teams are not going to fork over a starter for nothing. Add to that, we are a bit desperate for a starter, other GM’s will try to extract a lot of value from us. Heilman is the best short term solution until Omar can pull something off.
The long-term solution, as far as I am concerned, coincides perfectly with the short-term solution — move Heilman to the rotation, call up Heath Bell, and get Henry Owens on a plane/bus to Norfolk immediately and tell him to be ready for the call if Julio and/or Bell falters.

Heilman is, at his absolute worst, significantly better than Maine/Lima/Gonzalez, at least as good as Bannister, and might (I stress might) be a legitimate #3 starter by season’s end. Trachsel can be the #3 in name, but he’s looked quite hittable since coming off the DL last year — take out his two gems against SF, and his numbers are terrible.
I would send Lima down. Call up Bell or Owens. Let Oliver make the next start or 2. During that time test Bell/Owens. If they don’t “Fortunato”, then move Heilman into the rotation, and use Julio and Bell/Owens in the Heilman situations and see how that works.
~Brian S.
The objective should be to reduce the number of innings in which opponents are allowed to bat against sub-par pitching, particularly with the offenses the Mets will face over the next 3 weeks. Thinking about it this way makes it easy, I think. Bring up Bell and move Heilman into the rotation. What other option minimizes the amount of innings which have to be pitched by below-grade pitchers? I would debate whether this will actually weaken the pen, since (a) Heath Bell is no slouch, and (b) if we leave Heilman in the pen and rely on slouches as our 4 and 5 pitchers, the pen is bound to be overtaxed and its effectiveness reduced in any case.
~Wally Dykstra
Heilman to the rotation (permanently) and Bell in the pen makes the most sense. Hence Omar and Willie won’t consider it.
~Bill W.
Aaron Heilman threw a slider in college, and used that pitch as a starter all through winter ball and spring training. He has a plus fastball, plus changeup, and actually a pretty nice looking slider as well. Heck, Baseball America ranked it “best pure slider” in all of college in his senior year.

The guy throws three big league pitches for strikes — and I’m still unsure where this misconception that he’s a two pitch pitcher came from. When you get dropped to the bullpen you only throw your best pitches because you’re only throwing an inning of work. That’s why John Smoltz only threw primarily a fastball, slider and splitter in his turn as closer, despite having about eight or nine pitches in his arsenal.
~Andrew Hintz
Any game we win with Lima Time on the mound is a small miracle.

We’re in the position now that if Pedro and Glavine lose on back-to-back days, we’re looking at an automatic 1-4 run through the rotation. But hey, we’ll still be getting lockdown relief from Heilman and Sanchez in games where we’re behind 9-2.

Heilman made seven starts last year, and it didn’t ruin his season. Heilman’s ability to both start and relieve is one of the things that makes him most valuable. If he succeeds in the rotation, great, leave him there. If he’s mediocre, move him back to the pen when some of our other arms get healthy. Heilman’s versatility is being completely wasted. We’re in a situation where we desperately need a #4 starter, and he’s staring us right in the face.
Guys, any conclusions drawn from analyzing Heilman’s changing effectiveness as he worked deeper in games in 2005 are bogus. (samplesizesamplesizesamplesize) The absolute best guess you can form based on the data is 50% likely to be wrong, so don’t bother. No pattern exists yet, we’ll need to try him as a starter and find out.
Seeing as the Mets’ logic exists through the question “What makes the team better?” (how they justified putting Bannister in the rotation and Heilman in the ‘pen), we need to ask ourselves the same question. What makes the team better? Leaving Heilman in the bullpen while inserting Lima, Gonzalez or Maine into the rotation? Or doubling Heilman’s innings while replacing him with perhaps Heath Bell or..dare I say.. Henry “K” Owens?

We need to realize that the Mets don’t have any replacement starters that are “tearing it up” in the minors, but they DO have replacement relievers that are destroying opposing hitters, ready and waiting to step up.
I am not too worried (yet). We have a potent offense. Beltran is hitting like it is 2004, Delgado is a beast, Wright is Wright, and Floyd seems to be picking up some steam. Reyes is on fire. Even Matsui is delivering some key hits. We will score a lot of runs, especially against sub-par pitching like the Phillies and Yankees bring to the table. If we can score 6 runs a game when starters 4-5 are on the mound, we will win most of those starts (especially if the bullpen stays the way it is).

Many of you said that Pedro and Glavine will not win every start, but who ever we plug into spots 4 and 5 will not lose every start either. With the offense and defense we bring to the table, I would expect at least a .500 record out of the back end of our rotation for the next 6 weeks. Which is all anyone can ask.
Can we not stop making excuses for Maine. He went out and pitched with a sore finger. He’s not the first pitcher to ever do this. He said he could throw all his pitches still except a curve, his 4th pitch. His velocity was fine. Bottom line, he pitched okay against a weak Nationals line-up. He showed me enough to be a decent spot starter, but as many have pointed out today, we will not win the division with Bannister and Maine as our 4 and 4 guys.

We have enough relievers to pitch the 7th inning. We have 6/7 guys who could do this on any given night including calling up Bell or Owens. Our bullpen would still be very good without Heilman. Lets get Heilman in the rotation and stop giving away games like we did yesterday.
I really don’t know why everyone is doubting Maine already. We saw the guy make one start which wasn’t even that bad and already he is a stretch for the rotation. Not to mention the guy was injured his entire start but this guy was also a former top prospect for the O’s. I said it before and ill say it again he is going to make people that regret the Benson deal regret it no longer in the future.
~Wagner Dominant
The obvious response to the “Can Heilman Start?” debate is that we’ll never know until he actually starts. All the more reason to give him a couple of starts until Maine & Bannister come back. If he does well, we know that he’s capable of being in the rotation. If he tanks, then we know that he belongs in the bullpen. We know Heilman wants to be in the rotation, so what’s the downside of giving him a couple of starts to prove himself?
~Peter H
Maybe Mets Management is much, much more concerned about Billy Wags and his finger than we all think.

Perhaps they see a possibility of DL’n him with Sanchez closing and Heilman being the primary setup guy.
Omar did a great job signing Pedro Beltran 2 yrs ago, and this yr signing Delgado and LoDuca. I even admit the Seo deal turned out terrific (At the time I was against it). Omar has done a really bad job with the starting rotation. If he wanted to trade Benson to dump salary, no problem, but he should have replaced him with an experienced alternative. With Trachsel a question mark at best coming off last yr and how terrible Zambrano has been since he got here the Mets needed a 3rd experienced, durable, winning starter to go along with Pedro and Glavine(which in my opinion he had with Heilman). So since he went with Bannister an unproven rookie it was a roll of the dice at best. Everyone knows you win with pitching, haven’t the Yankees proved the last 4 yrs no matter how much hitting you have if you don’t have the pitching you don’t win. Omar decided at that time Heilman was a relief pitcher and as we see now he is not willing to change his mind when the Mets need it. How many games do the Mets have to lose with, AA and AAA, sub major league pitchers before he gives Heilman the shot? The games don’t look like they matter now but how many teams miss the playoffs by a game or two at the end of the yr.
There was a great comment by jzack that was just too long to quote. It was post #29.

I think it’s time to put Heilman in the rotation. When did your second setup man, clearly Sanchez is the number one setup guy, become more important than your third starter?
~Ron Swoboda
* * *

  • Thank DG for the Gomez quote..I used it on the minor league recap on Metsgeek.com.

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