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Cubs closing in on trade

January 28, 2009, 8:39 AM

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs are close to pulling off a deal that would bring them right-handed reliever/starter Aaron Heilman. In exchange for Heilman, the Seattle Mariners are looking for Ronny Cedeno and a young pitcher. Heilman came to Seattle from the New York Mets in December in a three-team, 12-player trade centered around reliever J.J. Putz. He would be a perfect fit for the Cubs as they look to replace Bobby Howry's sixth and seventh innings. Although the right-handed pitcher was inconsistent last year (3-8, 5.21), the Cubs feel that his upside is significant both in the bullpen and as a possible swingman/fifth starter.

The Cubs are still trying to open a roster spot for catcher Paul Bako. Once the 40-man roster has an opening, it's assumed that Bako will sign a one-year contract for $750,000.

The Cubs have also been weighing offers for left-handed pitcher Rich Hill. Hill, who has the yips (continually walks batters), tried to correct his problem with a stint in winter ball this season. After a couple of encouraging starts, Hill went back to walking a batter per inning.

The Cubs are still looking at other free-agent starting pitchers. Former Cardinal Braden Looper and left-hander Randy Wolf are still on their want list if they aren't able to revisit the Jake Peavy deal with the Padres.

The Cubs are looking for a 25th man/right-handed hitter off the bench. Former Sox shortstop Juan Uribe is someone they've been taking a look at over the last couple of weeks. Although Uribe doesn't give the Cubs a back-up at first base off the bench, he does give them gold glove-like defense at 2B, SS and 3B in case one of the Cubs' starters goes down with a lengthy injury.


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