Cubs trade SS Ronny Cedeno and LHP Garrett Olson to the Mariners for RHP Aaron Heilman.

Chicago Cubs Trade Ronny Cedeno and Garrett Olson for Aaron HeilmanIn what appears to be one of more thought provoking moves of the off-season, the Cubs have traded away what possibly could be a coveted piece of the Peavy deal by trading Garrett Olson along with Ronny Cedeno for former Mariners/Mets reliever Aaron Heilman.

Here is the scouting report I had on Olson:

3 pitches:

  • 88-91FB
  • 78-81SL
  • 80-83CH (major league numbers) (minor league numbers

As you can see, he appears to be a little gun shy when pitching in the majors, which plagued him at times in the minors. He was trying to pitch perfectly rather than allowing the hitter to get himself which led to the high BB totals in the majors. His slider is probably his best pitch but his FB doesn’t have the command, movement, or velocity to improve his slider and more importantly the 3rd pitch he’ll need (change-up).

Despite good numbers in the minors as well as two average pitches with his FB and slider, I don’t see him making it on the Cubs as a starter. Olson will likely play the role of Marshall last year as the swing/long-relief reliever or hopefully be part of the Peavy trade. Honestly, I don’t see why the trade for Peavy would possibly sway on whether or not Olson is included in the trade as he appears to be a marginal player especially compared to potential stars like Vitters.

With that type of scouting report and Cedeno being out of options to return to Iowa, as well as numerous middle infielders (Fontenot, Miles, Theriot), it was obvious that Cedeno was going to get traded.
As far as Ronny Cedeno’s scouting report, I project Cedeno as a future utility infielder capable of playing SS/2B as well as being able to hit well enough to be that back-up middle infielder. He has a strong arm, good range, fair hands but often lacks the concentration to make the routine plays consistently. At the plate, he generates line drives with fair bat speed but struggles with away pitches, especially low and breaking balls.

He has shown the ability to have a good approach in the minors but that has not carried over to the majors yet. If given a full-time job, I would project him as a .270/.300/.400 hitter while rating slightly below avg. defensively.

Here is my scouting report for Aaron Heilman:

  • 2 seam FB (sink): 91-94 MPH above average velocity and average movement for a sinker.
  • Splitter: 82-85 MPH average velocity and average downward movement for a split-finger.
  • Slider: 82-85 MPH appeared to use it much more in ’08 and was an effective pitch.

Heilman definitely has the stuff to be a set-up man as he has 2-3 plus pitches, but struggled last year with his command and likely his confidence while struggling mightily in the second half of last year. He has never been real solid vs. LH’ers, but last year his splitter and FB whether it was lack of command or mechanical flaw, they were just teeing off on him. In 149 Abs, left-handers hit 8 HRs and drew 24 BBs for a line of (.308/.425/.567).

There are some encouraging signs if he does stick with the Cubs.  He used his slider very well against RH’ers and with Rothschild I expect his slider to become an even more effective weapon. I don’t expect Heilman to do as poorly as he did last year, but I don’t expect him to be much better than Luis Vizcaino or Mike Wuertz. Also, I can’t see his plus FB or his plus splitter to be as hittable as they were in ’07, but that will depend on his command more than anything else.

I’m hoping SD covets Heilman more than Olson because that is the only logical explanation I have for this trade from the Cubs’ standpoint. I’m not against this trade as I explained why I’m not that high on Cedeno or Olson just that all previous signs were pointing towards SD wanting Olson which is why I thought the Cubs traded for Olson in the 1st place.


  1. tom mcqueeney says:

    Being a Ronny Cedeno fan I agree with you, more playing time would only make him “much” better, I think he is an awesome SS and gives 100+ on the field, batting AVG comes with more playing time, (in hockey, goalies with less playing time have a higher GA) The CUBS have made a great ERROR in trading RONNY CEDENO, once their’s.
    Best of luck to RONNY, (I’m now a Mariner fan)

  2. Illinoisbaseball says:

    Cedeno will get the chance to compete for a starting spot, Lopez was outstanding at 2B for Seattle, while Betancourt had a down year offensively is still the better defensive SS of the two and is likely expected to end up again as the Mariners’ starting SS. Cedeno would’ve been the 4th middle infielder with Theriot, Fontenot and Miles ahead of him in Chicago, I expect Cedeno to be 3rd on the depth chart ending up as the primary backup 2B and SS in Seattle.

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