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Thread: Wagner: Heilman future closer

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    Wagner: Heilman future closer

    Wagner: Heilman future closer
    Tuesday, April 01, 2008
    BY DAN GRAZIANO AND JEREMY COTHRAN
    Star-Ledger Staff

    MIAMI -- Aaron Heilman's ninth inning may have been as impressive as any of the seven Johan Santana pitched. Heilman needed nine pitches to retire the side in order on a pair of strikeouts and a weak grounder back to the mound.

    "Awesome," said closer Billy Wagner, who watched from the bullpen. "Heilman's the closer of the future. They just don't know it yet. Heilman will be the closer here in two years."

    That may be the first time that's been suggested about Heilman, who burns to be a starting pitcher even when he thrives in the setup relief role to which the Mets have relegated him. But Wagner said watching Heilman use his fastball, slider and cutter to pick apart the Marlins yesterday was only one thing that convinced him he's right.

    "He's got the stuff, but mentally he's got what it takes, too," Wagner said. "The people that do the evaluating in baseball, they've never pitched. They don't know what it takes. But he's got it. There's no doubt in my mind."

    Yesterday used to be Pedro Martinez's day. While his name and Opening Day have long been synonymous, he's now adjusting to his No. 2 role with the Mets. But Martinez has long boasted this spring that when he pitches, he'll always be an ace.

    Martinez will take his turn today as the Mets try to build on their impressive Opening Day win against the Marlins.

    "He looks stronger, he's more refreshed," Randolph said. "He's not icing down, which is a good sign for him. ... We'll see how that translates to winning. He's had a great spring."

    This is the first time in recent memory where Martinez has started a season with the Mets healthy. But now fully recovered from shoulder surgery in 2006, the Mets have high expectations he can be a strong No. 2 in their rotation.

    In five games last season, Martinez went 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA.

    The subject of trade rumors this spring, Jorge Sosa nevertheless can be an effective member of the Mets bullpen. The proof came when the reliever struck out Josh Willingham to end a threat in the eighth inning. Matt Wise started the inning, sandwiching a pair of singles around a Hanley Ramirez popup. Scott Schoeneweis then came on and induced a groundout from Mike Jacobs before giving way to Sosa.

    If the score had been different, Randolph said he would have gone with a typical Heilman-Wagner combination. But he wanted to give his bullpen an early-season test.

    "I still felt we had some room to wiggle with and I liked the matchups," Randolph said.

    Angel Pagan knows his lease on left field is temporary. But after an eye-opening spring, the outfielder continued his solid play with an RBI double in three at-bats, which drove in the first Mets' run. It came as part of a six-run fourth.

    "You've got to bring what you did in spring training, you have to carry that over to the season," Pagan said. "That's what I did."

    Pagan said he wants to be an asset this April, not just as a stopgap player until Moises Alou returns.
    I think Heilman has to get a bigger role with this team or he is bolting.

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    He'll go to the first team dumb enough to make him and pay him like a starter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SINYJets View Post
    He'll go to the first team dumb enough to make him and pay him like a starter.
    I don't think a team will pay him like a starter. I could see him signing a 1 year deal with a team that tells him they'll make him a starter, then if he pitches well, he'll get a big contact.

    How long before he's a FA anyways?

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    2011, According to Rotoworld.

    Honestly, I've kinda resigned myself to the idea that he'll be traded eventually. But with Heilman likely to bring Type A compensation when he does hit FA, I'd have no problem letting him walk when the time comes, provided we have a decent replacement. I think Eddie Kunz will be the closer of the Future. That's why they drafted him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ven0m View Post
    2011, According to Rotoworld.

    Honestly, I've kinda resigned myself to the idea that he'll be traded eventually. But with Heilman likely to bring Type A compensation when he does hit FA, I'd have no problem letting him walk when the time comes, provided we have a decent replacement. I think Eddie Kunz will be the closer of the Future. That's why they drafted him.
    Maybe Pelfrey if he doesn't work out as a starter in these next coming years, I can see him being a good reliever. You can't hide behind the fact that if Pelfrey doesn't produce in the next 2 years, he has been a bust. Drafted 9th, we passed up on Cameron Maybin, Volstad, Bruce, Snyder, Rasmus, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JV51 View Post
    Maybe Pelfrey if he doesn't work out as a starter in these next coming years, I can see him being a good reliever. You can't hide behind the fact that if Pelfrey doesn't produce in the next 2 years, he has been a bust. Drafted 9th, we passed up on Cameron Maybin, Volstad, Bruce, Snyder, Rasmus, etc.
    Pelfrey's main problem right now is getting behind hitters and forcing himself into spots where he HAS to throw his fastball. That would hurt him just as much in the bullpen as it would in the starting rotation IMO, of course that could always change in the future though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ven0m View Post
    Pelfrey's main problem right now is getting behind hitters and forcing himself into spots where he HAS to throw his fastball. That would hurt him just as much in the bullpen as it would in the starting rotation IMO, of course that could always change in the future though.
    Pelfrey has to concentrate on 3-4 quality pitches as a starter instead of his two best, his great sinker and average slider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JV51 View Post
    Pelfrey has to concentrate on 3-4 quality pitches as a starter instead of his two best, his great sinker and average slider.
    It would help, but unless he's able to locate one of those breaking pitchers for a Strike consistantly, which he's currently unable to do so, it won't make a difference.

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