The Arizona Diamondbacks, on the heels of avoiding salary arbitration with pitcher Joe Saunders and infielder Stephen Drew, have reportedly agreed to terms with Aaron Heilman to pitch for the team again in 2011.
Heilman was arguably the most consistent pitcher out of the bullpen last season and even closed for a while, but has come back to compete for a job in the starting rotation. As of now, the rotation looks set with Saunders, Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Barry Enright and newly acquired Zach Duke, but adding an element of competition for the rotation should hopefully increase the performance of all involved.
"Heilman, I don't think it's any secret that he's really wanted to start, or get an opportunity to start. He started in college at Notre Dame and actually had a good spring years back with New York and ended up back in the pen," Diamondbacks Vice President and General Manager Kevin Towers said today after a media tour of the team's new spring training facility.
"It sounded like he maybe had better offers other places as a reliever but we were willing to give him an opportunity to go battle it out against guys like Duke and Enright and see if he can win the job."
If he does not win a starting spot, he would move back into the middle of the bullpen, where he was most effective last season.
Heilman's one-year contract is for $2 million which is a slight decline from the $2.5 million he made last season in Arizona.
For more on the signing, be sure to check out AZ Snakepit.