Aaron Heilman will decline arbitration, may give starting a try

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Aaron Heilman is a Type B free agent and the Diamondbacks offered him arbitration, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Heilman will decline the offer and look to sign elsewhere after making $2.15 million in 2010.

Rosenthal also notes that Heilman is “drawing interest as a starter” after being exclusively a reliever for the past five seasons.

Heilman was a standout starter at Notre Dame, made 73 of his 76 minor-league appearances as a starter, and started 25 games for the Mets before shifting to the bullpen full time in 2005.

He’s never been an elite reliever and has a solid three-pitch arsenal that is somewhat wasted in one-inning relief outings, so the move would make some sense. Rosenthal speculates that Heilman could sign a one-year deal with a team willing to let him compete for a rotation spot and then hit the open market again next offseason after hopefully establishing himself as a viable starter.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.