sheahan has already proven he's capable of a 3rd line center role. he's out of waiver options next year so he'll probably be here unless he is traded. he also brings some size that this team needs up front.
helm isn't good enough to be a 2nd line center, and he's too expensive to be a 4th line center. he also has back issues to take into consideration.
To be fair to Babcock and Holland, Cleary was---while still mediocre---vastly better last season than he is now. He underwent a tremendous decline over the summer. While he should not have been brought back at all, I don't think anyone could have anticipated his presently disastrous state of physical condition.
he was absolute garbage last season. he got lucky and got some points in the playoffs and all of the sudden people had some talking points as to why he was no longer worthless.
he was terrible last season and he's terrible now.