Cubs and Ms Swap Disappointments

A.k.a. This good move stuff takes some getting used.
A.k.a. Heilman and Olson are racking up the frequent flier miles.

Today the Mariners potentially solved their glut of Major League back-rotation starting pitchers by shipping off Aaron Heilman, acquired from the Mets earlier in the winter in the J.J. Putz blockbuster. Heilman is now on his way to the Cubs of Chicago in exchange for infielder Ronny Cedeno and Garrett Olson, who himself was just recently acquired from Baltimore for outfielder Felix Pie.

From the Mariners perspective, this could not have worked out much better for them. Heilman was going to be hard pressed to make any impact on the big league team given his position of wanting to start, but not being good enough to do so. In exchange for him, the Mariners get Ronny Cedeno whom the Cubs have soured on, but has a phenomenal minor league track record as both a hitter and a defender and Garrett Olson who boils down to being a lefty, much younger, version of Heilman, albeit with less Major League success, but one with options left that allows the Mariners to give him some more seasoning down in Triple-A while they do their best to move Carlos Silva or Jarrod Washburn out of the way.

For the Cubs, well, they managed to clear some room on their 40-man roster I suppose. Heilman is probably a better option for 2009 and can serve as a swingman on the staff, moving in and out of the rotation as need be, but that is the best that I can come up with for them. There’s no doubt that this trade is a win for the Mariners, and the best that I can give the Cubs is a pass. They have turned Felix Pie and Ronny Cedeno, two huge prospects as little as a year ago, into Aaron Heilman.

And no, that is not going to help them get Jake Peavy. Any rebuilding team would be far more interested in Cedeno and Olson than Heilman.




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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

4 Responses to “Cubs and Ms Swap Disappointments”

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  1. Rob says:

    The Cub’s transmuted a SS out of options and likely headed for a straight out release into a pitcher with perceived upside. They turned nothing into something. Nothing to the Cubs – something for the Orioles and Mariners.

    Felix was in a similar situation given his service time. Good trade for both Baltimore and Seattle and I think the Cubs did well considering they might have not recognize any players in return if they held on much longer. The current and short-term roster wasn’t going to give these guys much if any playing time.

    Aaron Heilman could be the best 5th starter in the NL if he pitches as once expected. The Cub’s 5th starter last year was Jason Marquis. I suspect Aaron’s salary is more economical in dollars and years.

    If Sean Marshall gets the 5th spot in the rotation – the Cub’s have more pitching depth in the swing men that could be Heilman and Gaudin. Though Cotts might be the only lefty in the bullpen – less Mike Stanton [gulp] makes the 25 man roster.

    The more pitching the better. For future trade value or simply injury contingencies.

    The Cub’s environment will not be conducive to on the job training until after the World Series Championship.

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  2. Ben says:

    Like Rob says, neither Cedeno nor Olson were going to make the 25-man this year (same for Pie), so this move makes sense for the Cubs from that perspective.

    However, the front office does deserve some criticism for destroying Pie’s value over the past two years.

    I wasn’t under the impression that Cedeno was ever a highly-valued prospect by any team except the Cubs, and if you’re going to talk about his numbers at AAA in 2005, you have to look at his (more relevant) awful 2006 as the everyday SS. Not to say he couldn’t blossom into an ML-average SS, but it’s looking less likely.

    Signing Miles to play Cedeno’s role in 2008 was, in my opinion, a bad move, and the other big criticism I would make of the Cubs’ front office.

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  3. JT says:

    Problem isn’t what the Cubs got for these guys given their current market value; problem is that the Cubs mishandled these guys (in particular, Pie) to such an extent that they may have played a large role in driving their value down. Look at Pie’s 2007 season — the Cubs bring him up in mid-April, let him start for two weeks; he struggles a little (or at least, does have a 900 OPS, like he did in the minors); the Cubs turn him into a part-time player, and then shuttle him back and forth between AAA (where he dominates all year) and the bench in the majors (where he has no chance to succeed). The Cubs needed to commit to Pie or leave him in the minors; shuttling him back and forth disrupted his rhythm and likely led to many of his struggles in the big leagues that season; this, in turn, led to a decrease in his perceived value, even though the guy was killing the ball as a 21-year-old in AAA. If the Cubs weren’t going to commit to him as a starter, they should have dealt him when his value was high; not held onto him until his value was low and then deal him for a half-assed, two-pitch 5th SP like Aaron Heilman.

    The fact that Heilman is “better than Jason Marquis” should be an indication of what a sh*tball trade this is for the Cubs… lose two prospects, get back someone better than Jason Marquis. That is definitely not, in the words of Billy Beane, a F*in-A Trade.

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  4. eligoodrich says:

    Heilman is not a starter,he may be usefull in the bullpen ,but then will give up Bombs in big spots. Like game 7,2006 nlcs. Thank god the Mets got rid of him

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