Getting released isn't always the worst thing in the world; often times it leads to a better opportunity. But everyone wants to be wanted. Getting released, at least initially, must really hurt.
Getting released on April Fools' Day must be excruciating.
Right now, Aaron Heilman is packing up his things, talking to his agent, and wrestling with that 0.1% chance that some low-level Mariners executive is going to come charging through his door with a big goofy smile yelling, "April Fools' you sonovagun!"
Chances are, this is the end... again. Heilman has had an interesting history with the Mariners, having been originally acquired as part of the J.J. Putz-Franklin Gutierrez trade in December 2008. The Mariner pitching staff was full of holes at that point and Heilman appeared to have a shot at cracking the starting rotation or locking down a late-inning bullpen role, perhaps even as the closer. He showed up to Mariners Fanfest that month, donned Mariners apparel, talked to the fans, and then was traded shortly thereafter to the Chicago Cubs for Garret Olson and Ronny Cedeno.
He had a decent run with the Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks before landing back with Seattle as a non-roster invitee this spring. Heilman seemed plenty qualified to pitch his way into the Mariners' bullpen, but he was assigned to minor league camp fairly early and appeared to be heading to AAA Tacoma as insurance.
But now he'll be latching on with another squad. I guess it was never meant to be.
Watch Heilman join the team in 2023 as the pitching coach, finally making it onto Safeco Field in a Mariner uniform.