Cubs Get Something for Heilman

Aaron Heilman joined his fourth organization in the last 12 months tonight. Last year Heilman was part of a three-way deal that landed him in Seattle. Prior to the start of the regular season, he was shipped to the Cubs, and today he avoided being non-tendered and was instead sent to Arizona.

Heilman pitched in 70+ innings for the fifth consecutive season. He did a nice job putting an uncharacteristic 2008 season behind him. His FIPs over the past three years have been 3.86, 4.91, and 4.37, with the final two seasons coming with HR/FB higher than Heilman’s career average. He’s a slight groundball pitcher who uses a low-90s fastball, slider, and change effectively. Heilman has experience as a set-up man and the Diamondbacks seem likely to use him in the bullpen.

The return for the Cubs are a pair of minor leaguers.

Scott Maine is a stout lefty with impressive strikeout rates out of the bullpen. He’s 24-years-old and was drafted out of the university of Miami in 2007. Maine throws from a low arm slot and has a fastball that breaks into the low-90s as well as a slurve. The mandatory Tommy John surgery is out of the way and it’ll be interesting to see if deception is the key for Maine or if his stuff can hold up in the higher minors.

Ryne White is a short left-handed first baseman drafted in 2008 from Purdue. He’s shown the propensity to draw a walk but flashes few other skills despite a supposedly quick bat. He played some outfield in college and, given his height, there’s a chance he could return there sometime in the future.

Considering Heilman was on his way out for nothing, it’s hard to say the Cubs lose out on this deal. Maine might be a useful relief arm sooner than later, and who knows what the future holds for White. Obviously this isn’t an ideal situation, but at least they didn’t pay a marginal reliever seven million dollars today. As for Arizona, I’m not sure giving up anything of value for a middle reliever is a good play, especially given Arizona’s placement on the win curve.

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Good for Lou Piniella. Not since June 4th, 2002, when he sobbingly carried that miniature Australian version of himself off the field, has Piniella had a squatty, quick-batted underdog to love and cherish. I just hope Ryne White is up to the task. He looks a bit too McAnulty for Sweet Lou’s taste.