Mariners sign reliever Aaron Heilman to minor-league contract

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Aaron Heilman had an ugly 6.88 ERA for the Diamondbacks last season, so not surprisingly he’s had to settle for a minor-league contract and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that he’s signed with the Mariners.

After being released by the Diamondbacks in mid-July he latched on with the Phillies and then the Pirates, but failed to make it back to the majors.

Heilman didn’t pitch particularly well at Triple-A either, but his 33/11 K/BB ratio in 35 innings for Arizona suggest he might still be a useful middle reliever if he can keep the home runs in check.

Prior to imploding last season he had a 4.50 ERA and 55/26 K/BB ratio in 72 innings for the Diamondbacks in 2010 and that’s probably Heilman’s remaining upside at age 33.

53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro homers in independent league ball

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It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.

If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.

Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.

Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.