Heilman dealt for two prospects
Cubs receive pitcher Maine, infielder White from D-backs
CHICAGO -- The Cubs have eight players who are arbitration-eligible, but trimmed the number they have to give raises to by one on Thursday, trading Aaron Heilman to the Arizona Diamondbacks for two Minor League prospects.
Heilman, 31, was 4-4 with a 4.11 ERA in 70 games in his only season in Chicago. The right-handed reliever was on a long list of arbitration-eligible players, joining Carlos Marmol, Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, Sean Marshall, Ryan Theriot, Koyie Hill and Angel Guzman. Marmol, Fontenot, Theriot and Guzman are first-time arbitration-eligible, but all will get raises.
"We feel like we got two solid prospects from the Diamondbacks," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Thursday. "As we move forward in the winter, the way our big league club sets up and the way we have a lot of arb guys, we felt we needed to move some people a little bit before we get to Indianapolis [for the Winter Meetings]."
The Cubs are close to signing free-agent reliever John Grabow to a two-year contract, and he would be the most experienced guy in the bullpen as of now.
"We feel we have some young arms who can take [Heilman's] place in that part of the bullpen," Hendry said, listing Guzman, Esmailin Caridad and Justin Berg as options.
The Cubs also have three players -- Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija and Tom Gorzelanny -- competing for the fifth-starter spot. Whoever doesn't get it could end up in the bullpen as well.
"We just felt we had enough volume there to go ahead and make the trade and use our resources elsewhere later on," Hendry said.
In exchange for Heilman, the Cubs acquired left-handed pitcher Scott Maine and first baseman Ryne White, who is a Chicago native and 2005 graduate of St. Rita of Cascia High School. White, 23, batted .266 with 18 doubles, six home runs, 52 RBIs, 65 walks and a .371 on-base percentage in 116 games for Class A Visalia.
Maine, 24, combined to go 4-5 with seven saves and a 2.90 ERA in 48 relief appearances between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno in 2009. Selected by the D-backs in the sixth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, Maine is 8-7 with 13 saves and a 3.29 ERA in 88 relief appearances over three seasons.
Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken liked Maine when he saw him at the University of Miami, and one of Hendry's top scouts, Stan Zelinski, gave good reports on White. Hendry described the first baseman as a "left-handed hitting Matt Stairs kind of guy."
The Cubs acquired Heilman from the Seattle Mariners for left-handed pitcher Garrett Olson and infielder Ronny Cedeno in January. This is his last year in which he is arbitration-eligible; the right-hander will be a free agent after the 2010 season.
The Cubs have about $120 million committed in salaries for 2010, and new chairman Tom Ricketts has said the payroll will go up "slightly." Do the Cubs have to move more players on the arbitration list to stay in their budget?
"It's a little early to tell," Hendry said. "We don't have a lot of high-ticket arb guys. A lot are first-time-eligible [players]. A lot of the dollars that some of them will be awarded through the process or settled before we get to that aren't huge, significant things. If we feel we're in the best interest to move some dollars to add some, of course, we'll look into that."
This could be a busy offseason for player moves, and not just by the Cubs.
"I'm looking forward to Indianapolis," Hendry said. "I think it'll be an exciting time for the game. I felt a month after the season ended that it would be a winter with a lot of trade possibilities. I think fans like that and it's healthy for the game."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.