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Cubs Add by Subtraction

By Garrett Monaghan

The Cubs improved their bullpen today by shipping sub-par reliever Aaron Heilman to the Diamondbacks for a pair of prospects. The Cubs didn't land any major prospects of course, but they dumped Heilman's $1.625 million contract and cleared the way for someone hopefully more effective.

Heilman actually pitched much worse than his 4.11 ERA would indicate, as he allowed 46% of inherited runners to score and posted a dismal 4.23 BB/9 rate. It's not a stretch to imagine that the Cubs will be able to find someone within the organization who can take Heilman's spot in the pen.

Heilman is just one of a number of arbitration eligible Cubs who could find themselves with new addresses in the next couple of months. Jeff Baker, Neal Cotts, Mike Fontenot, Angel Guzman, Koyie Hill, Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, and Ryan Theriot are also arbitration eligible. Cotts is likely to be non-tendered, as he's been injured and/or ineffective for most of his Cubs' career. Marmol, Guzman, Hill, and Theriot are all likely to offered contracts; but Baker, Fontenot, and Marshall could all potentially be dealt.

Marshall and either Fontenot or Baker could be part of a potential deal for Curtis Granderson, as the Tigers could be looking for a replacement second baseman. Hendry seems to be in salary-dumping mode right now, and he's notorious for disliking the arbitration process.

At the rate the Cubs are dumping pitchers, Spring Training should have some exciting competitions between some of the farm system's better young arms. If this is what Hendry's actually planning on doing, it could signal something of a change in organizational philosophy. If the Cubs focus on filling some of their needs from within the organization rather than by throwing money at free agents, it could finally indicate that the Cubs are following the model teams like the Red Sox and Phillies have built world champion teams from. I'm not holding my breath, but the Cubs might be heading in the right direction.

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