This off season, Jim Hendry had the difficult task of attempting to improve a team that won 97 games the season prior. Although the Cubs won the NL Central with ease, there's always a C.C. Sabathia waiting in the wings, who could push a NL Central foe to the top of the division.
Hendry focused on making the team more athletic and flexible, signing Joey Gathright and Aaron Miles. The Cubs were also able to move Jason Marquis off the books, which left a vacancy in the Cubs rotation.
It also created a potential opportunity for a young pitcher who, with the need of a change of scenery, could rebound from a tough 2008. Perhaps Hendry has found the man who will seize this opportunity:
Many Cub fans question the trade that sent Ronny Cedeno to Seattle and brought Heilman to Wrigley, but when you look at Heilman's spring training, there's a sense of optimism brewing.
Going into 3/26, Heilman has an 1.84 ERA in 14 innings pitched, striking out 16 batters while only allowing four walks and 15 hits.
Granted, these are only spring training numbers, it's apparent that Heilman is on the right track thus far.
With the potential for injury to the Hardens and Zambranos of the world, it'll make the Cub's lives much easier if Heilman can be a solid contributor.