Cubs Trade Ronny Cedeno; Get Living, Breathing Pitcher in Return
The Cubs moved yet another once-upon-a-time prospect in Ronny Cedeno today, along with left-handed pitcher Garrett Olson to the Seattle Mariners for Aaron Heilman. You'll remember Olson as the pitcher the Cubs received along with Hank Williamson for Felix Pie about a week and a half ago. That makes the net trade:
Cubs get: Hank Williamson, Aaron Heilman
Cubs lose: Ronny Cedeno, Felix Pie
Cedeno's fate was likely sealed when the Cubs acquired Aaron Miles and I'll shed no tears on this loss. Cedeno might be more talented than Ryan Theriot, but he's shown all the baseball intelligence of a junior high dropout. I also find it a bit amusing that the one rookie that Dusty Baker ever gave much of a legitimate shot of playing time to - besides maybe Matt Murton - was Cedeno in 2006. Dusty Baker's eye for talent strikes yet again.
Heilman has been on the Cubs radar for awhile, always known to be a Hendry favorite. The Notre Dame alum had a brutal 2008 season, with a 5.21 ERA for the Mets and was part of the three-team deal for J.J. Putz earlier this offseason. His K/9 rate went up to a nice 9.47 last year, but it went along with a skyrocketing BB/9 rate of 5.45. Fangraphs (using Pitch F/x data) says he throws mostly a fastball and change-up with the occassional slider, while Sportsnet says it's a splitter and fastball with the occasional fastball and change. He has also made it clear on many occasions that he would prefer to be a starter, which is probably why he got shipped out of New York.
Heilman signed a one year, $1.625M deal to avoid arbitration with the Mariners and is set to be a free agent after the 2010 season and the deal cleared a spot on the 40-man roster.
I assume many are worried that moving Garrett Olson means the end of the Jake Peavy sweepstakes for the Cubs, as the Padres made it clear he was a pitcher they desired. I, of course, have no idea if that is true or not. To play devil's advocate, it could mean the Cubs are now willing to move Sean Marshall and covet Aaron Heilman more for that swing-man role. I think that's less likely of a scenario, but it is possible.
In the end, the Cubs moved a useless part (Cedeno) and a promising player with no roster flexibility (Pie) for a pitcher I think is a pretty good bet to bounce back next season. From 2005-2007, Heilman put up ERA's of 3.17, 3.62, and 3.03 with anywhere from 76 to 108 IP. Considering the volatility of relief pitchers, there's certainly a good chance that he can rebound to those levels.
Theo inks five year extension
PC tonite at PNC
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.