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

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Aaron Heilman: Overblown or Valuable?

Well..well...well. The trade bait du jour of late has been our very own Aaron Heilman. When you have the deepest bullpen in the league, you can dangle big pieces to fill other more pressing needs. MLBTradeRumors.com may not be the most reputable source being that they actually get some of their information from blogs purely speculating on things, but they certainly provides a lot of fodder for discussion. In this case, it is Aaron Heilman.

Renewing an interest they've had for a while now, a source tells me the Mets hope to acquire Edwin Jackson from the Devil Rays for bullpen help. They feel that they can fix some mechanical flaws in the 23 year-old righty.

Not sure if the Mets would hope to acquire Jackson as part of a trade of Aaron Heilman. As you may have read in the papers, Tampa Bay has interest in Heilman as a starter.

Two things. First, Edwin Jackson is a fine idea. I like the guy as he has an electric arm and I have no idea what the Devil Rays would be looking for, but he would be nice if he was a tossed into a deal or did not cost the Mets much. He might be young, but he has little value right now. It is kind of hard to see the Devil Rays just getting rid of him to get rid of him since he holds more value being kept being he still has some upside.

Second, the writer mentions Aaron Heilman as a possible chip to try and pry Edwin Jackson and obviously something else from the Devil Rays. While I really do not care much about the above 'rumor', reading through the inane bable that ensued after the tidbit peaked my interest. What could Aaron Heilman actually fetch on the market? We all know there is interest. The Red Sox reportedly view him as a closer and would like to acquire him, the Cubs are interested in turning him into a starter, and the White Sox would love to rip Omar off with Heilman and Milledge coming back to them and having Heilman set up Bobby Jenks.

There were a few gems in the comments like this one that didn't even think Heilman should be enough to net Edwin Jackson.

Honestly I think Jackson has more value then Heilman does guys. He is younger he was a top flight pitching prospect and still could be something very good.

There were a lot of other comments that were that antithesis of insightful and highlighted some people's complete and utter bias towards the New York Mets, but it did get me thinking. I am pretty set on Heilman being used for trade bait if there is a big market out there for him. I agree that he is ultimately replaceable in terms of what the Mets need him for. Can he net the Mets a Dustin Pedoria or an Alberto Callaspo? Can he be packaged up with Milledge and possibly other parts for an ace? Can he maybe bring some pop to the Mets lineup?

We know that Duaner Sanchez cost the Mets Jae Seo after having two back to back comparable seasons with Aaron Heilman's last two years. We also know that Dany Baez, who was an accomplished closer coming off possibly his best year, was dealt for Edwin Jackson and Chuck Tiffany. Tiffany profiles as a back end starter and Jackson went from the 3rd highest rated prospect by BA for the Dodgers in '05 to completely blowing up his prospect status with his inability to notch an ERA lower than 5.55 in AAA in 2004, 2005, and 2006. Mike MacDougal only fetched Tyler Lumsden and Daniel Cortes from the White Sox this past year.

Are we overvaluing Aaron as Mets fans? Judging by the above to instances, you might say yes. However, there were instances when a guy like Danny Kolb could net a guy Jose Cappellan after posting horrific peripherals and while looking to be headed in the wrong direction. I understand Kolb was a closer and Heilman was not, but I think many believe Heilman could close. When it comes to relievers, it is much like antiques and other collectables. A baseball bat with David Wright's signature might be worthless to someone while being worth $100 to someone who actually places some value on the bat. I do think Heilman is a slightly different case when you factor in his versatility.

  • He is cheap. Really cheap. He's has not even hit his arbitration years and is under a team's control for four more years. Middle relievers, especially set up men, have become increasingly important these days with starters going less and less innings. Heilman is a very good set up man and these days good set up men can fetch three to four million per year to teams that are desperate enough.
  • The guy could probably close in this league and be better than more than half of the closers out there today with ease. He has two above average pitches with his change up possibly being a one of the tops in the league.
  • Some teams view him as a starter. I could envision him being a John Maine-type starter and if a team views him as a valuable mid-rotation starter, they may want save themselves the trouble of paying $24 million for a so-so starter for three years when they can have Heilman for a fraction of that cost for four years.

    This year, not many names stand out in the set-up department. There are a few that stand out and there is a precipitous decline after that. As far as mid-rotation starters, two possibly priced themselves out of the range that most teams probably wanted to pay for their services and it is pretty thin after them with Vicente Padilla leading the mid-rotation charge. Heilman has value right now. Maybe even peak value at this point with some teams looking at him to start or close. If he was strictly a middle reliever because he wasn't good enough to close or good enough to start, that would be one that. That is far from reality.

    Heilman can net something of use and the Mets are in the driver's seat. They are hardly interested in moving him just to move him for some marginal prospects. When you are in that type of position, you do not do desperate things. There will be plenty of teams willing to overpay for a guy like Heilman because there is still some considerable upside and a lot of value there. There is a reason his name has come up a lot and Mets are in a win win situation in regards to keeping or trading Aaron. Not a bad place to be in.

    * * *

  • More on Heilman...

    The Mets may be more open to moving Aaron Heilman into the starting rotation than previously reported, but are trying to determine the market for secondary setup men. They continue to be very averse to dealing him at all, despite all of the recent rumors that describe him as a “chip”.

    If the Mets fail to sign a big time starter or trade for one, I'm all for this scenario. However, one has to wonder if they are just trying to boost his value? They are certainly deep enough in the bullpen to experiment with Heilman to the rotation and it certainly doesn't hurt for him to know he is pitching for his starting life with Pedro's return looming and one or two of the young guys getting edged into the bullpen or back to AAA (not that Heilman would ever get sent down, but you know what I mean).

  • Doc's out! You know what? You have to give the guy some credit for taking it like a man. He could have done the easy thing and went to rehab, but he knew he would fall back into the same routine and get back all hopped up on goofballs again. Hopefully, this decision go through incarceration will enable him to stay out of trouble.

  • The bidding ends today. Swellicious.

  • Some tidbits on Kei Igawa.

    The negotiating rights to Igawa, a 27-year-old Hanshin Tigers star, are expected to be made available to the highest-bidding major-league team via the posting system, just like Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Mets had scout Isao O'Jimi monitoring Igawa's performance, but the southpaw - who is most often linked to the Braves in reports - had a rough outing control-wise. Igawa allowed two runs on five hits and six walks in six innings. The Japanese staff walked 10 batters in all.

    "He's got a good changeup, man - nasty," Reyes said. "And he can throw the ball. He throws 92, 93 mph."

    And the fact he's lefthanded is a big positive.

    "I favor lefthanders anywhere in the world," said Chiba Lotte Marines manager Bobby Valentine, who attended yesterday's game. "The first time I saw him four years ago he was a lot better than he is now, but he's still good."

    Bobby is very honest and was straightforward on Kei, which is why I respect his thoughts on Daisuke so much. The guy knows what he is talking about.

  • The Mets are interested in Mota and I think he will be a bargain for the Mets.

  • Lilly's agent is waiting for the Mets to call, but Lilly is pretty low on the priority list in terms of pitching.

    Ted Lilly's agent, Larry O'Brien, said neither the Yankees nor Mets are among the "dozen or so" teams that have contacted him, but the lefthanded starter would be interested in hearing from them. Lilly, a Yankee from 2000-02, is looking for a four-year deal with a limited no-trade clause and wants to pitch for a playoff contender, O'Brien said.

  • Murray Chass speculates on what the Mets might do to bolster their pitching staff.

  • Joel Sherman hands out his New York awards and Jose Reyes is the MVP of New York. Not Jeter, but Reyes. Meaningless? Sure. Tasty? Absolutely.

  • The West Coast teams are heavily looking into Barry Zito and despite people's concerns about him being a true ace, he will cash in this off-season.

  • The Yankees top ten prospect list is out and Dellin Batances, who fell all the way to the 8th round of this year's draft due to concerns about actually being able to sign him, was ranked third.

    Betances' stuff is as good as anyone's in the system. His fastball sits at 93-94 mph and touched 98 in the club's fall minicamp. He uses a low-80s power curveball as an out pitch. His changeup has made significant strides in his short pro career and grades as a future plus pitch with sinking, diving action. He's athletic and intelligent, and adapted quickly to the mechanical adjustments New York asked him to make.

    Ouch! I know me and Benny were behind reeling him in, but it wasn't to happen. Instead the Mets are stuck with Holdzkom and a few other duds picked between the start of the draft and the eighth round.

    Overall, the Mets system appears to be better than the Yankees system though not by much.

    Anonymous Coop said...

    I believe the Mets are in a great position with Heilman. He's valuable to them, but not so valuable that he can't be replaced, and other teams covet that position.

    However, I'm not so sure we can expend Heilman that quickly - I'm still of the frame of mind that John Maine is very tradeable right now. His value is high and he just pitched his ass off in the playoffs. Kind of like Suppan and Weaver all of a sudden have high values. I think out of all the pitchers, he is the most replaceable.


    1:45 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I'm on board. I like Maine, but ultimately, he is replaceable too. I view him as a #3 guy long term. He might throw up some front end years, sure. Overall, I think he can be replaced.

    Whoever will give the Mets the most bang for the buck, go for it. I just think Heilman might actually have more value being considered better at what he does and more versatile. I think Maine could be good out of the pen too, but Heilman can close in the bigs right now. He may want to start, but being a big time closer is certainly appealing.

    The only guys who I tab untradeable right now are Wright, Reyes, Humber, F-Mart...and that's it. The rest can go in the right deal. Obviously I'm talking about the young guys and not Beltran, Delgado, etc.

    Both are cheap and under contract for a while so Omar does have options and that article from Murray Chass got me wanting Peavy more. If Zito goes to the Padres, they might see him as expendable. Filling in Milledge and a top flight pitching prospect may be too much to pass up. As someone said before, they need to shake things up. They have made the playoffs two years in a row and looked overmatch with Peavy. Is more pitching the answer? Maybe, but they might come out of a deal for Peavy a more well rounded team and better set up for the future.

    And yes, I'd take Chris Young too if he came at a cheaper price, but I think they are more interested in bringing in more parts and Peavy allows them to do that. Couple that with his 'arm issues' and they may not want to take a chance he goes down and see what they can get for him now.

    The part of things is that Towers is a solid GM. He doesn't go the Chuck Lamar route and ask for the moon. Lamar did damage by not trading Huff and Baez earlier asking for too much. Towers is more interested in improving his team than worrying about who he is ripping off. He'll do deals that make sense and are fair.

    1:57 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    Well, the more I think about it, Peavy does sound better and better. Although - did you hear anything about Tigers wanting to trade Bonderman for some offense? (Source is Ed from Westchester) Not sure the Mets have anything worth trading (like you said - the "untouchables" list) but you gotta admit, Bonderman and his nasty stuff in the NL translates very well.

    Who knows? I'm on board, whatever the Mets can get most value for, DO IT!

    2:11 PM

    Anonymous Scott said...

    "Wants to pitch for a playoff contender." -What the fuck does that mean? EVERYBODY wants to pitch or play for a playoff contender! Anyone ever heard a player say"Nah, I'm happy to play in K.C. because they never make the playoffs."-Never happened.

    Mota is going to be a big signing. Yeah he is out 2 months but he will be fresh in the second half when we need a fresh hot arm out of the pen.

    Maine is definitely tradable with Williams, Perez etc right behind him. I'd rather see him go than Humber or Pelfrey.

    How about we go for super-defense at second base (A.Hern) and spend the extra we save on a big LFer for offense? Soriano in LF and Hernandez at 2nd works for me.

    Edwin Jackson was THE prospect just a couple of years ago but I don't think we should go after him unless he is in a package. Crawford AND Jackson for Heilman and Pelfrey? Yes, I'd go along with that.

    2:41 PM

    Anonymous Dayn Perry Sucks said...

    Don’t listen to the anonymous scouts slobbering in the New York City papers, because nobody knows how good Japanese right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka will be in the major leagues. All we know is how much he’ll cost, because slimy super-agent Scott Boras has planted a $20 million seed in newspapers all over America, suckering reporters who repay a return phone call from Boras into doing his negotiating.

    Anonymous scouts — is Boras a scout? — are telling the media that Matsuzaka, 26, is a No. 1 starter in the majors. We’ll see. Matsuzaka is said to throw in the mid-90s with six or seven pitches he can locate for strikes, but that sounds like fantasy. The reality is, he’s a small guy (5-foot-11, 187 pounds) who has thrown 1,400 innings over the past eight seasons, with astronomical pitch counts typical in Japan. He’s an arm blowout waiting to happen.

    Odds are, whoever wins Matsuzaka has already lost. They’re playing poker with Scott Boras, who’s not only the slickest guy at the table, but the guy dealing the cards.

    2:43 PM

    Anonymous Dayn Perry Sucks said...

    sorry, meant to give credit for that one from CBSsportsline. Ma Bad.

    Interesting thoughts huh? Blow 20mil on a guy with a busted arm.

    2:44 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Bonderman might be on the block, but he's going to cost a BIG TIME STICK. Like David Wright type player. Not prospects. The Mets cannot match that. I want to have him in the Met rotation, but that won't work.

    Scott, I agree man. I love how everyone says that. But they'll go where the money is and say they are building something really great...blah..blah (see Miguel Tejada"...blah.

    I'd take Soriano...believe me. But I think that precludes them from getting a big arm possibly. I do not value him at $15 mill either. He's a streaky guy (I had him on my fantasty team) and has holes in his swing. He is by no means an answer, but a great player at any rate. If the Mets do pick up a big bat, A Hern at second would suit me just fine too.

    Crawford and Jackson for Heilman and Pelfrey? Add in Milledge there and maybe some lower level guy like Bannister. Crawford is that good man.

    Daisuke throws 88-91 and can dial it up to the mid 90's. He doesn't throw that consistantly. If you look at his Youtube video, he is throwin 90/91 and touches 93/94. Much like John Maine, but with a devastating slider. Big time breaking pitch and a great splitter. Daisuke is the real deal.

    3:13 PM

    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    I read this far in your post:
    "Renewing an interest they've had for a while now, a source tells me the Mets hope to acquire Edwin Jackson from the Devil Rays for bullpen help. They feel that they can fix some mechanical flaws in the 23 year-old righty."

    "They feel that they can fix some mechanical flaws in the 23 year-old righty."

    "They feel that they can fix some mechanical flaws in the 23 year-old righty."

    ...then I started uncontrollably projectile vomiting. Doctors here at the hospital say i have something called tampa bay syndrome. I hope my insurance covers this.

    3:17 PM

    Blogger Emad Mekhaeil said...

    Don't look now, but Fernando! is hitting .250 and is starting to draw walks. He just turned 18 and is holding his own in the AFL, which is the equivalent of AA.

    Mulvey's numbers ain't that impressive, but he seems to be a groundball machine. I like those guys. Could be a nice back-end starter in time.

    Holds cum stinks. We didn't sign Beato why? Slot cost? C'mon!

    3:25 PM

    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    Sox are interested in poopyface as a closer? No problem.
    Heilman for Jonathan Papelbon straight up.

    3:30 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Yeah, there were too many jokes about that one. I just stayed far away from it.

    F-Mart is a stud. If he didn't get hurt this year a few times, he might have started at AA and moved up to AAA this season. He could still be in the bigs before he's 20 if things play out a certain way and someone goes down.

    Don't pay attention to ERAs in Arizona. The average ERA last year was over 6 or 7 last year. Rough place to pitch. Good for hitters...for pitchers? Not so much.

    Poopyface? That's a new one. I'd do Pedoria for Heilman if the Mets couldn't wrench an ace from someone with Milledge and Heilman as a centerpiece.

    3:41 PM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    Thanks man. I was living a nice, solitary, peaceful offseason life. And then you go and mention Dellin Betances. Benny and you mentioned him before the draft, I did a bunch of research, and then hoped against hope that the Mets would pick him. At least we got Holdzkom in the 4th round...

    Emad, I would place the AZ Fall League a touch above Double-A, no? Most of those guys have already been to the bigs, or would expect to make their major league debuts next year. This probably means Fernando! starts in Double-A next year.

    The Indians paid a price to get Josh Barfield from San Diego. Kouzmanoff and Brown are both major league caliber.

    3:43 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    Mike, I don't disagree with you. No way Bonderman comes to the Mets unless we give up like EVERYBODY good.

    Oh-Pea is not tradeable. I have big plans for him next year. No way Omar trades him, no way.

    3:50 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    At least we got Holdzkom in the 4th round...

    My thinking exactly.

    I think Fernando will start in High-A, but Omar has been agressive with his kids. I like the new way of letting prospects skill dictate where they go rather than age and conventional wisdom.

    Barfield is going to be the tits in tha park. He has some pop and the Jake is nice to hit in. You have to give up talent to get talent and the Padres have been after a legit 3rd baseman since 2000! They were off the Burroughs bandwagon long before they traded his ass.

    3:51 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Oh-Pea might be used to get Peavy...I'll pack him a lunch and shine his shoes before he goes. Towers likes Ollie. Let's exploit that.

    3:51 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    Heilman deffinitly gets traded, I'd be shocked if he's still wearing the NY logo by Opening Day.

    Mike regarding Igawa you only showed Reyes' quote. There's also a quote by Wright, who basically said he sucked. Of course Wright kept mentioning that it could be because of the 1 and a half month layoff.

    Yankees? Delin Betances.
    Mets? Holdzkom.
    Fucking dumbasses.
    We also got Scott "I got in trouble because of Myspace" Schafer.

    Mike Shapiro is one cool dude. He knows what he's doing. Its a good trade for both teams, how often does that happen? Barfield tothe Indians for Kouzmanoff? nice for both teams but smart on Shapiro's part. He didn't wanna over-pay for a 2nd baseman.

    Also, Jose Reyes, hit a walk off against Japan to sweep the series. Fucking jerk coudln't do this 2 weeks ago?

    How come people always talk about how many innings DIce-K has thrown? He hasn't had ANY history of injury. His arm is supposedly falling off? Well, there's nothing to suggest it will.
    And besides, BArry Zito has thrown just as many innings as Dice-K. Zito has 1400+ innings, no one is talking about his arm falling off.
    If those innings means he'll be on the DL, then let the 1400 innings mark be the thresh-hold for EVERYBODY's arm to fall off. Be consistant.

    4:07 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Yeah, I saw the Wright quote, but I thought Valentine's quote was good too. He basically said he was OK, nothing special though.

    Yup. Shapiro saves a few million and dealt from a position of strenght...Omar should be taking notes! The Mets have a surplus of what everyone else wants.

    Reyes and Wright are having no problems leading the charge in Japan. Their time will come. They will have a few rings when all is said and done.

    Not so much innings as pitch counts with Daisuke...but there are caveats. It's a shorter season and they throw on a day extra rest. He still only topped 200 innings twice in eight years. His arm will be just fine.

    4:17 PM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    Yeah, I didn't mean to insinuate that Cleveland overpaid. They didn't get Barfield on the cheap though. Good middle infielders are going to cost you (which is relevant to the Callaspo/Pedroia discussions). I like Barfield a lot. He is a good fit in Cleveland, no doubt.

    Wright in 2005 was about equal to Wright in 2006. Reyes in 2005 paled in large comparison to Reyes in 2006. Reyes in 2006 was as valuable as Wright in 2006. Wright better watch out, Reyes might leave him in the dust soon! (honestly, do you see Wright getting THAT much better? Reyes can, and will, still improve a lot. Scary, but true.)

    4:27 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    You know, this is coming out of nowhere but how come we, as Met fans have spent about 3 years talking about a Soriano to the Mets trade and everytime we said "NO!" to Soriano.

    NOW, all of a sudden Met fans want him?
    What's up with that?
    And if its the whole trade a prospect for him thing, then thats silly because the commitment for Soriano is much worse than giving up any prospect.

    4:35 PM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    Benny, I think a lot of people, myself included, had to eat some crow when Soriano went to Washington and put up those huge numbers at RFK. Most of his detractors pointed to his road splits and decided that Soriano largely was a function of playing in a hitter's paradise in Texas.

    I still don't want the guy. As you said, the commitment is crazy. The Phillies are supposedly willing to go to 6/100M to get him. That is nuts.

    4:43 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Wright is about where I see him except he'll add a few more homers. A .300 hitter with 25-30 dingers, 40 doubles, 20 steal, 100+ RBIs...

    Reyes is just downright scary how good he can get now that he added a bit a of a homerun stroke.

    I don't WANT Soriano, but I'm not going to complain if we got him. And it was also in a trade that costs Reyes. He doesn't cost Reyes or Kazmir this time.

    5:01 PM

    Blogger Emad Mekhaeil said...

    'Wright is about where I see him except he'll add a few more homers.'

    Crazy as it is to say, but Reyes' upside is higher than Wright's right now. I see David as a consistent .300/.380/.530 type, but his physical cieling and athleticism is lower than Jose's. Jose is also likely to age better.

    Consider Reyes for a moment... a guy with Barry Larkin on his comp list. Reyes is a plus defender with ridiculous counting stats. He doesn't really need to improve very much from where he is now to be a lock HOFer. If he stays healthy and puts up 2006 numbers for 10-12 years, he'll be in there.

    It's a golden age to be a Mets fan.

    *burns his vintage Darryl Boston jersey*

    7:31 PM

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