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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cubs get Heilman

Earlier this week the Cubs and Mariners hooked up in another trade in which Seattle received a couple of guys who are out of options (they cannot be sent to the minors without clearing waivers) for Aaron Heilman.  Heilman has already been traded once this offseason as a piece in the JJ Putz trade.

Seattle gets a utility infielder in Ronny Cedeño who was passed by two other similar players in Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot in Chicago.  I personally feel he was given a sort of raw deal by the Cubs but that's an argument for another day.  What is evident is he has skills that offer an upgrade to what the Mariners are currently running out there in Yuniesky Betancourt (offense) and José Lopez (defense), the guys he'll be competing against in spring training.  
Garrett Olson is a guy who's really taken his lumps in the majors but is also worth taking a chance on.  Maybe he's learned how to pitch?  Going from a terrible defensive ball club in a hitters park to one that appears to be much improved defensively and in an extreme pitcher's park should give him a little more confidence.
These are the types of deals teams like Seattle need to make in order to find a core of players upon which they can build their next playoff run.

In losing Cedeño Chicago isn't really losing too much in that he was only a utility guy for them. The bigger question is who is replacing him?  With DeRosa being traded, second base appears to be a platoon situation between Fontenot and Aaron Miles.  It's a reach to think either of them would a decent defensive shortstop though.  It's doubtful the Cubs are satisfied with this alignment so picking up a decent defensive shortstop for the stretch run already seems likely (Andres Blanco is not the answer either).  
Heilman is an above average reliever who could really solidify their pen in the late innings.  However there's already rumblings about the Cubs letting him compete with Sean Marshall and Chad Gaudin for the fifth starter's role.  In November I said this about Heilman starting:
AHeilman is a disgruntled reliever who told the Mets to start him or trade him.  Well, Aaron, you got your wish.  If used as a starter it will be a disaster since he only has two decent pitches and a pretty significant platoon split.
Lucky for him and Cubs fans I don't think management is serious about this offer.  Granted we are talking about a fifth starter but 2 good innings of Heilman will be more important to the Cubs than 5 mediocre ones.

What this trade boils down to is the Clubs clearing out a roster space by trading two guys who are out of options and Seattle taking on those guys hoping to capitalize on their upside.
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