Mets get El Duque! 

May, 24, 2006
Breaking news right before the Mets and Phils play Game 2 of their series, and those who own Aaron Heilman in fantasy leagues won't be pleased. The Mets just dealt reliever Jorge Julio to the Diamondbacks for Orlando Hernandez. What does it mean? Here are the big reasons this trade affects us, and surprise, surprise, the biggest reason is not about either of the players in the trade, it's someone fantasy owners just can't stop talking about!

• Heilman's staying in the Mets bullpen. And you know what, that should be OK with fantasy owners. His numbers look very good, though strikeout middle relievers are kind of a dime a dozen. Why do fantasy owners simply assume Heilman will dominate as a starter? I don't. Last season Heilman had a 2.18 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 66.1 relief innings. He was terrific. He allowed only one home run. He saved some games. In seven starts, however, his ERA was 4.71. The year before, Heilman made five starts and his ERA was 5.46. Is it possible he could blossom in the rotation? Sure. But why change something that is working? Good for the Mets for realizing Heilman helps their team more in the seventh inning than starting the game. Heilman allowed a pair of runs to the Phillies Tuesday and still his ERA is barely 2. They were the first runs he allowed all month. The Mets are a better team today than yesterday, because they pick up a veteran starter for very little, and don't upset their bullpen structure.

• Get ready for El Duque in Shea! Why not? But let's not get too excited about it in fantasy, as he remains injury prone and even in the biggest park, no lock. First off, don't worry about how Hernandez will handle the pressure. This isn't Kenny Rogers or Ed Whitson succumbing to the tabloids, Hernandez has been in New York before and he'll be fine. Getting Hernandez for a pitcher the Mets didn't want is a steal, even if he might be a decade older than his announced age of 36. Hernandez fits right in as the Mets' No. 4 starter after Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine and Steve Trachsel. Nobody knows how Cuban import Alay Soler will do in his ML debut Wednesday vs. Philly. He was in Double-A a few days ago. Brian Bannister has had his return pushed back, and who knows if the control pitcher can succeed the way he was with his underwhelming walk to strikeout rate. Jeremi Gonzalez? Darren Oliver? Jose Lima is still Mets property. Please.