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Cubs land Heilman in trade with Mariners

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Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Cubs, unsure of whether they will land Padres right-hander Jake Peavy, made a separate move Wednesday to bolster their pitching depth, acquiring right-hander Aaron Heilman from the Mariners.
In exchange for Heilman, the Mariners received shortstop Ronny Cedeno and left-hander Garrett Olson. Heilman, long coveted by Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, will compete for the Cubs' fifth-starter job or pitch out of their bullpen. Infielder Ronny Cedeno will challenge both second baseman Jose Lopez and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for starting jobs, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told FOXSports.com. The deal gives the M's the flexibility to trade either incumbent. Lopez, a right-handed hitter, could end up getting starts at first, where the leading option, Russell Branyan, is a left-handed hitter. Cedeno also could end up filling the utility role vacated by Willie Bloomquist, who signed as a free agent with the Royals. "He's a guy who could push the two guys we have," Zduriencik said. "I want him to come in and feel like he can compete for a job." The Mariners will retain control of Cedeno, who turns 26 on Feb. 2, for three more seasons and Olson, 25, for five. Heilman, 30, will become a free agent after the 2010 season. Heilman came to Seattle on Dec. 10 in the three-team trade that sent closer J.J. Putz to the New York Mets. Heilman went 3-8 with a 5.21 ERA and three saves in 78 games last year with the Mets, blowing five of eight save chances. Seattle had told Heilman he'd get the chance to start, even though the Mariners already have six other starters. Zduriencik thanked Heilman for his professionalism. Heilman dutifully attended a weekend fan function at frigid Safeco Field last weekend and talked enthusiastically about getting a fresh start outside New York, which mostly despised him after he blew five saves in eight chances last season. "We were excited to acquire him, and sorry to trade him," Zduriencik said, according to The Associated Press. "But I felt this was a deal that we couldn't pass up." Hendry completed the deal while on vacation in Italy. "He's got to feel pretty good about the deal — we finally solidified it when he was in Rome," Zduriencik said, chuckling. Left-hander Sean Marshall and righties Chad Gaudin and Jeff Samardzija are the other candidates for the Cubs' fifth-starter opening. The Cubs retain interest in Peavy, but their quest is contingent upon approval from the team's new ownership, which has yet to be finalized. Olson is a pitcher the Padres had sought in earlier three-way Peavy discussions. The deal was first reported by Bruce Levine of ESPN 1000 in Chicago. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Tagged: Mariners, Cubs, Padres, Jake Peavy, Aaron Heilman, Ronny Cedeno

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