Cubs Trade For Mariners' Heilman, Messenger Released

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

SEATTLE (AP) - Aaron Heilman's stay with the Seattle Mariners
didn't last long.

The reliever, obtained from the New York Mets last month, was
traded to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday for infielder Ronny Cedeno
and left-hander Garrett Olson.

Seattle released Sparks High graduate Randy Messenger to make room on their roster.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry completed the deal while he
while traveling in Rome.

A failed reliever with the Mets, Heilman could get the chance to
start that he wants in Chicago. The 30-year-old grew up a Cubs fan
in Indiana and was graduated from Notre Dame.

Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said that Cedeno will compete for a job at second base and shortstop, prodding incumbents Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt. He also said Olson will get the
chance to join the starting rotation.

So much for Seattle's spring training being just to work out the kinks for the regular season. The new GM has put Mariners veterans on notice that past performance doesn't necessarily guarantee they will be starting again.

After all, their most recent performance netted a 101-loss season.

"This year with a new staff there's going to be fresh eyes looking at all these guys," Zduriencik said in a telephone interview. "I do hope we are creating the environment where people realize they have to come in ready to compete for positions.

"Our No. 1 goal is to continue to accumulate talent in our organization while doing everything we can to compete in 2009," he said in a statement released by the Mariners. "Today's trade allows us to acquire a young, left-handed starting pitcher with major league experience that we will still control for five seasons. At the same time, by adding Cedeno we have a player who is very versatile and gives us protection and depth, and can compete for a job at second base and shortstop immediately."

Cedeno, who turns 26 next week, hit .269 in 99 games for Chicago
last season while playing five positions. He made his major league
debut with Chicago in 2005.

Heilman came to Seattle on Dec. 10 in the three-team trade that sent closer J.J. Putz to the New York Mets. Heilman went 3-8 with a 5.21 ERA and three saves in 78 games last year with the Mets, blowing five of eight save chances. Seattle had told Heilman he'd get the chance to start, even though the Mariners already have six other starters.

Zduriencik thanked Heilman for his professionalism. Heilman dutifully attended a weekend fan function at frigid Safeco Field last weekend and talked enthusiastically about getting a fresh start outside New York, which mostly despised him after he blew five saves in eight chances last season.

"We were excited to acquire him, and sorry to trade him," Zduriencik said. "But I felt this was a deal that we couldn't pass up."

The Cubs acquired Olson from Baltimore on Jan. 18 for outfielder Felix Pie. Zduriencik was interested in getting him because he is young and left-handed.

Olson went 9-10 with a 6.65 ERA in 26 starts with Baltimore in 2008. He is 10-13 with a 6.87 ERA in 33 career starts, all with the Orioles, who drafted him between the first and second rounds of the 2005 amateur draft.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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