The most recent rumors regarding the possible (read: desperately hoped for) Jake Peavy trade have the Cubs potentially parting with a group of players that includes both Sean Marshall and recently-acquired Garrett Olson.
Both are young and inexpensive, but more importantly for a team like the Cubs with injury potential in the rotation and a lack of lefties in the pen: they are swingmen. They can work out of the pen, but also step into the rotation if necessary.
So it’s naturally that the reaction in most of the Cublogoverse to trading both Marshall and Olson to the Padres in a Peavy deal was a mix of, “oh well, that’s kind of awesome,” and “dear God no, we can’t trade both of them! Rich Harden might die!”
But even if the Cubs deal both of them there guys, they could still be all set in the swing department, if not the lefty department. About that, after the jump.
If having two swingmen is considered critical after the addition of Peavy – not an illogical requisite given Harden and Peavy’s injury history, not to mention the recent concerns with Zambrano – the Cubs could still have the goods without Marshall and Olson.
First, let me dispatch with one possibility: Jeff Samardzija. Yes, he sees himself as a starter and has had some – limited – success starting in the minors. And yes, he had some – limited – success in the Major League pen last year. But to calm my and most Cubs fans’ tender nerves, we require two *proven* swingmen.
It’s still ok.
Swingman Number 1: Chad Gaudin.
This one’s a natch. Gaudin was a swingman in Oakland before coming to the Cubs, and was a damn good one. Gaudin started, adequately in 2007, rocked it out of the pen in 2006, and was a true swinger (ha) in 2008 before coming over the Cubs.
Swingman Number 2: Aaron Heilman.
A seeming obsession of Jim Hendry’s for years, Heilman has been rumored to the Cubs for Ronny Cedeno on more than one occassion. Assuming Cedeno is not a part of the package for Peavy, perhaps he could be dealt to the Mariners for Heilman (though the rumors have been a straight up swap, I doubt Cedeno could net Heilman without including a little something something else for the M’s). Now, Heilman hasn’t started in a few years, but when he did, he was solid. And outside of last year where he was actually quite bad, he’s been dynomite out of the pen.
Although this plan was obviously crafted by a mega genius, it does have flaws. First of all, neither Gaudin nor Heilman are lefties, and asking them to throw left-handed would probably prove fruitless. Second, Heilman is arbitration-eligible this year and next, and is slated to make something north of a couple million bucks in 2009. After adding Peavy – which this whole crazy thing presupposes – how much flexibility will the Cubs have to make additions?