Been a while since I updated the two headliners on this site, and both have made some recent moves:
The Mets avoided salary arbitration with Aaron Heilman by agreeing to a one-year contract on Friday. The contract gives Heilman a raise from $453,000 last year to $1.2 million in 2008.
It's a little less exciting to get Heilman back for next year than it would have been before last season, coming off a great 2006. Heilman was good last year, but nowhere near as reliable as he was the year before. He did appear in half the team's games....and it felt like it - you saw him almost all of the time. Heilman will be better if the Mets don't overwork him. I also haven't heard how happy Heilman is to be back - remember, he still wants to start, and the Mets don't really have designs on doing that with him.
Interesting note on the Mets - they haven't been to a salary arbitration hearing since 1992.
Also, earlier this month, the Mets traded two minor leaguers to the Cubs for Angel Pagan - he's 26, a switch-hitter, and will play a reserve role in the outfield.
Kept forgetting to mention this - but here's why the Southern Bureau is such a good friend. During baseball's winter meetings, he kept sending me e-mails with updated quotes from Omar Minaya, commenting on the moves the Mets were making, and that this year's Mets team was better than last year's. Southern Bureau wrote me saying:
"Huh?? Did I miss something?? They haven’t done anything, right??
And…more importantly…WHEN DID I START CARING SO MUCH ABOUT THE METS???"
Since you became the Southern Bureau, that's when.
Meanwhile, the Jets hired Bill Callahan as assistant head coach/offense. (I'm not sure what the /offense means...but I guess it stresses he'll be keeping a closer eye on Brian Schottenheimer's act than the defense.) Callahan was coaching at Nebraska most recently, and before that was with the Raiders, as an assistant for some years, and as coach for a couple, including a Super Bowl appearance.
Not sure what to think about the Callahan move - it comes from Mangini, allegedly, so I don't think it puts heat on him - but he could take over for Schottenheimer first, and then grease the skids for the head position down the road.
(I also read that Callahan's expertise is the running game, and the Jets are looking to him for a shot in the ground game.)