The Arizona Diamondbacks added to their beleaguered pitching staff by resigning right-hander Aaron Heilman worth a reported $2 million. Heilman was one of the very few bright spots for the Diamondbacks bullpen last season, which ranked at the bottom of nearly every category.
After a disappointing 2010 campaign Heilman entered the free agent market hoping to ink a multi-year deal. Unfortunately the economics of the game found few suitors for the right-hander’s services.
Heilman and his agent remained in touch with the Diamondbacks and recently the two sides began talking about his possible return. Heilman has long stated his desire to become a starting pitcher and when Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers offered to let Heilman compete for a spot on the starting rotation a deal was made.
During Spring Training Heilman will be given an opportunity to break into the starting rotation and will compete with right-hander Barrie Enright and left-hander Zach Duke for one of the final two spots at the back end of the rotation.
If Heilman fails to become a starter he will return to the newly improved bullpen as a critical late inning reliever with Juan Gutierrez to new closer J.J. Putz. So what seemed like a rather weak pitching staff at the end of the season now has plenty of competition both in the rotation and in the bullpen. Hopefully this will lead to better success than they have had the previous two years.