“Thanks for your interest, but don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
That was pretty much the Mets’ response to reliever Aaron Heilman’s request to fill the vast hole at the back end of the rotation by climbing out of the bullpen.
Good for the Mets in saying, “No,” but, of course, if things go south, it could change. After all, it’s only May.
“I like Aaron in the bullpen,” says manager Willie Randolph said. “We are where we are because of our bullpen. This is the way it is right now. … We’re in first place. We’re playing well. I don’t want to do anything drastic.”
He’s right. It’s premature to be juggling things now. Let’s see how long Brian Bannister will be out and if Jeremi Gonzalez and Jose Lima have anything to offer.
You know the story: Heilman was supposed to start, but all that changed with Bannister’s hot spring when the Mets saw a chance to improve both their rotation and bullpen.
Heilman wasn’t thrilled then, and he’s not rocking the boat now, but it is clear he’s not happy in the pen.
“I still feel like I want the opportunity to start and see what happens,” Heilman said.
For now, Randolph is right. It’s too early to disrupt the bullpen chemistry the Mets created by moving Heilman.
Just earmark this issue for later, because it isn’t going away. Sooner or later the Mets must address Heilman’s desire to start.
They can do it three ways:
Ignore him, which means he’ll get angry and they will eventually lose him when he has the chance to go.
Placate him, which means weakening the bullpen.
Trade him, which might be the best option down the road. Sure, I’ll take Dontrelle Willis straight up for him, too, but let’s be realistic.