The Newest Cub…and Updates from the Rumor Mill

The Cubs latest addition to the pitching staff made the rounds on the airwaves Wednesday after the trade between the Cubs and Mariners was made official. Bruce Levine broke the story of the trade that sent Ronny Cedeno and Garrett Olson to Seattle for Aaron Heilman….a possibility he first mentioned several weeks back.

The inclusion of Garrett Olson in the Heilman trade created more speculation from the media on a possible Jake Peavy trade. Are the Cubs finally out of the Peavy sweepstakes? Buster Olney said the Cubs could reengage talks with the Padres while Randy Bush told the Cubs have not talked to the Padres about Peavy since the Winter Meetings.

Aaron Heilman is ecstatic about being traded to the Cubs….after all he grew up a Cubs fan, went to Notre Dame and lives in a suburb of Chicago. Heilman told Dave Kaplan he’s “a Cubs’ fan through and through.

Here are the highlights from Aaron Heilman’s interviews on WGN Radio and XM Radio….and a few thoughts from Ryan Dempster on the addition of Heilman. Plus updates from the rumor mill.

WGN Radio – Sports Central with Dave Kaplan

  • Heilman attended Fan Fest in Seattle last weekend
  • He was at home in Chicago when he received the call and was surprised about the trade
  • Heilman did not think he would be traded twice this winter
  • The Mariners GM called him and broke the news. Heilman said the Mariners were not looking to trade him
  • Heilman said on one hand he is kind of sad he was not able to pitch for the Mariners but on the other hand he is more excited to be with the Cubs. He told Kaplan he knows what it is like to be a Cubs fan and has an idea of what it will be like pitching for the Cubs.
  • Heilman grew up watching the Cubs on WGN and listening to Pat Hughes and Ron Santo on the radio
  • The first big league game Heilman saw in person was at Wrigley
  • Heilman wants to be a starter and was told to report to camp prepared to be a starter
  • Heilman said it is up to the manager and coaching staff to determine his role. He is excited that he will have a chance to earn the job in Spring Training.
  • Heilman reiterated to Kaplan that he is very familiar with the Cubs tradition. He said hopefully the Cubs will be able to figure out the missing pieces from the last two years and get to the World Series.
  • Dave Kaplan asked Heilman about knee pain he dealt with last year. He said his knee feels great right now

Ryan Dempster joined Dave Kaplan after the 7:30pm newsbreak and spent most of his time discussing his decision to not participate in the WBC. Dempster never realized that he was that popular in Canada.

Dempster said he thinks he is in the best shape he’s ever been. Kaplan brought up the fact Dempster looked like he lost more weight since the end of last season when he saw him at the Cubs Convention. Dempster said he’s worked harder this off-season than he did last winter….and added he had a better foundation this year.

The Cubs’ leader complemented Aaron Heilman and said he has one of the best sinkers in the game…one that Mark DeRosa could not hit. Dempster is excited about the trade.

XM Radio – MLB Live with Dave Simms and Kevin Kennedy

  • Heilman is ready to start the season and reiterated many of the same points early on that he discussed with Dave Kaplan
  • Heilman admitted that he looked at a few places to live while he was in Seattle last weekend
  • Heilman has not talked to Jim Hendry since the trade. Hendry is on his way back from Italy. Heilman has talked with Randy Bush.
  • Heilman has not heard anything in regards to Jake Peavy being traded to the Cubs
  • He has always wanted to start. He likes the routine and schedule. It is a lot easier to prepare to be a starter than to pitch out of the pen because of always being on call.
  • The bullpen can be mentally taxing and as a reliever you have to be on top of your game every night
  • As a starter, Heilman feels he will have time to develop his secondary pitches
  • There is more fitness involved in starting but sometimes a starter can win a game even without his best stuff

Garrett Olson was on XM later in the evening. He said he was looking forward to playing in Chicago and was actually on his way to the batting cage when he received the call…he said he put down the bat.

From on Aaron Heilman possibly starting for the Cubs:

“Of course, the heart wants what the heart wants, and it’s presumptive to assume Heilman will fail as a starter just because of previous numbers. But this will be his big opportunity. I remember thinking Braden Looper, Todd Wellemeyer, Derek Lowe and Justin Duchscherer were big risks when they moved to the rotation, but all worked out better than expected. I would draft Heilman as a starting pitcher and figure he’ll make 25 starts if/when he wins the job, and he’ll keep his ERA in the respectable 4.00 range with a decent strikeout rate. There is upside here if you wait long enough in a draft to seek it out. I like this move for the Cubs.”

Updates from the Rumor Mill

Bruce Levine reported several bits of information on his blog shortly after he broke the story on the Aaron Heilman trade. Levine reiterated much of the same as he did during Talkin’ Baseball last Saturday.

  • The Cubs will soon sign Paul Bako….a story that was confirmed by the Sun-Times
  • Offers are being weighed for Rich Hill
  • The Cubs are looking at Randy Wolf and Braden Looper
  • Juan Uribe is on the Cubs’ radar to fill out the 25th spot on the roster and provide a quality defensive backup at second, third and short.

According to Bruce Miles, a Peavy trade is “a ways away if it’s ever going to happen.

Buster Olney on Peavy to the Cubs

Well, that’s the latest…and I’m sticking to it!

Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth