Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Garrett Olson, We Hardly Knew Ye

I never even saw what Garrett Olson looks like. Sure, I could have Googled him and found a picture of him. I still could, I suppose, but whats the point? He's a Mariner now.

The Cubs packaged newly-acquired Olson along with out-of-minor-league-options-but-probably-not-good-enough-to-stay-on-the-major-league-roster Ronny Cedeno to acquire booed-out-of-New-York-for-blowing-five-out-of-eight-saves-down-the-stretch-last-year Aaron Heilman.


This seems to be Jim Hendry trying to get something of value for his AAAA players while he can. Essentially, he has traded Felix Pie, formerly the untouchable prize of the system, and Cedeno, formerly the shortstop of the future, for Heilman and a middling prospect from the Orioles.

So what does Heilman bring to the table? This link provides more than enough statistical information, but basically from 2004 to 2007 he had a 3.27 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. His K:BB Ratio was about 3:1. Pretty good numbers. So why is he on his second team of the off-season?

Because last year, he posted a 5.21 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. His K:BB Ratio fell to less than 2:1. Why the huge drop off? One theory is that Heilman may have been the most abused pitcher in baseball last year (and if not the most abused, then Carlos Marmol was #1 and Heilman #2), possibly accounting for his poor performance down the stretch. That raises two questions: 1) Has Heilman recovered from overuse and 2) Will Piniella continue to abuse both Marmol and Heilman in his bullpen?

Assuming Heilman is healthy and can rebound to anything close to his 2004-2007 numbers, he will compete for the fifth starting spot in the rotation. He also has more value because he could theoretically make the transition between starting and relieving easier than Sean Marshall can. Flexibility will be key on this pitching staff given Harden's fragility, Zambrano's questionable durabilty after putting so much mileage on his body over the last 6 years, and a potentially over-worked Marmol.

Also, even if the Cubs do manage to pry Jake Peavy away from the Padres, I'm not convinced he is healthy enough to make it through a full season. So Heilman, in a best case scenario, would probably function as the Terry Mulholland of this staff (though I doubt even Lou the Abuser would bring him out of the bullpen the day after he started as Riggleman did to Terry in 1998).

Of course, Heilman has stated he wants to start and may not be receptive to playing the swingman. But he also doesn't have great stats as a starter: 25 Starts, 5 Wins, 13 Losses, 5.93 ERA, 1.57 WHIP. So we may not want him starting.

After all of this, my reaction to the trade remains: huh.


Anonymous said...

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An idea of what we're looking for is currently what we've set up with Blogdownchicagobears, which is one of the top Chicago bear blogs on the internet.

There is a link to the announcement of them becoming our official Chicago Bear blog. We wish to create one central location for all of the best blog articles to be posted on our forum so all of those blogs fans can come together, discuss, network, etc.

Posted this on an old article just to insure you could see it haha.

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