The Cubs today got rid of one guy they hardly knew and another they knew all too well for somebody GM Jim Hendry has wanted for a long, long time.
Hendry and his front office sent lefty Garrett Olson (just acquired from Baltimore) and shortstop Ronny Cedeno to the Seattle Mariners for righty Aaron Heilman. A lot of people had assumed the Cubs obtained Olson to included in a package for the Padres' Jake Peavy, but that's not happening, and a Peavy trade is still a ways away if it's ever going to happen.
Hendry has coveted Heilman, a Notre Dame product, for several years. It took the Mets to trade him to the Mariners this winter for Hendry to get him. Hendry hasn't been able to get a whole lot done with Mets GM Omar Minaya, dating to Minaya's days with the Montreal Expos (see Michael Barrett to Cubs from Montreal through Oakland).
It looks like Heilman, who worked out of the pen last year, will get a chance to compete for the fifth starter's spot in spring training, which opens in just over two weeks. Heilman has wanted to start, and the Cubs are going to give him a shot. Hendry has spent the winter stockpiling arms in the wake of Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden having shoulder problems. We'll see if all that quantity yields some quality.
Oh, and manager Lou Piniella will be glad to bid farewell to Cedeno, a shortstop with all kinds of talent who got in his own way the last few years with his play on the field and his attitude off of it. He might be the only player we'll ever see who got thrown out going from first to second on a walk. Maybe the change of scenery will do him good.