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Heilman Gone, Cedeno and Olson In

Ronny CedenoThe rebuilding continues. Today, Jack Z traded away Aaron Heilman to the Cubs for INF Ronny Cedeno and LHP Garrett Olson. To make room on the 40-man roster, the M's also released RHP Randy Messenger. Heilman was acquired in the J.J. Putz megadeal, so he will end up never throwing one pitch in a Mariners uniform. As a brief sidenote, this deal may end any chance of the Cubs acquiring Jake Peavy, which is certainly noteworthy.

This is another move from Jack Zduriencik that makes so much sense on so many levels. His mantra is to acquire talent, and that's what he keeps doing. Heilman was quite redundant on this roster, and frankly I am pretty sure he was always more of a throw-in that the Mets wanted to get rid of than a person the Mariners were very interested in acquiring. Heilman, like Washburn, Silva, and Rowland-Smith, would have been competing for a job at the back end of the rotation. Additionally, with the acquisitions of Tyler Walker and David Aardsma, he was not exactly essential to the back end of the bullpen either. Simply put, Heilman did not look like a great fit for this team.

On the other hand, Ronny Cedeno and Garrett Olson both are great fits. Olson can compete for a starting spot, just like a Heilman was going to. However, Olson is younger, cheaper, under team control for several more years, and has stuff better suited for starting right now anyway. On top of that, Ronny Cedeno provides needed depth in the middle of the diamond, and can push either Yuni Betancourt or Jose Lopez for playing time immediately. Even though both Olson and Cedeno are yet to have great major league success, their minor league track records indicate that they have the potential to develop into valuable contributors at the major league level.

The ultimate beauty of this deal though is that it is still good for the Mariners even if they do not progress. As I already said, Olson is already at least as well suited for the rotation as Heilman. Cedeno is already good enough to be a solid reserve infielder too. I am not real sure why this trade appealed to the Cubs, because it has a chance to make them look pretty bad....Wow, when was the last time anyone could say that about another team in an M's trade?

I am pretty excited to see the 2009 Mariners take the field. Off the top of my head, here is the list of M's that are candidates to take big steps forward (or return to form) in 2009:
  • Kenji Johjima
  • Jeff Clement
  • Chris Shelton
  • Yuniesky Betancourt
  • Ronny Cedeno
  • Bryan LaHair
  • Franklin Gutierrez
  • Erik Bedard
  • Brandon Morrow
  • Carlos Silva
  • Garrett Olson
  • Jason Vargas
  • Mark Lowe
The odds are better for some players than others, but the odds of none of those players progressing are virtually non-existent. It is not a question of if, but rather how many and how much. Granted, many of those players Jack Zduriencik inherited. But, he has breathed life into a stagnant 101-loss roster with every deal he has made. This team is back on the rise.