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Ronny Cedeno Rumors
Here's the latest from the National League East…
- The Nationals "have had little contact with" Roy Oswalt, a source tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson. We heard last week that Oswalt was the Nats' "plan B" once Mark Buehrle signed with Miami. The Nats didn't bid on Yu Darvish and won't meet Oakland's price for Gio Gonzalez, so the club may stick with its current rotation.
- Ladson believes the Nationals will look for bench help before re-entering the pitching market. To that end, Ladson reports the team is maintaining interest in Mike Cameron, Mark DeRosa and Greg Dobbs. (Both links go to Ladson's Twitter account.)
- The Marlins are interested in Rays right-hander Wade Davis, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. With Matt Moore, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson as untouchables and the Rays seemingly determined to keep James Shields, Davis and Jeff Niemann are the most likely Rays pitchers to be moved, if the club does indeed try to deal from its pitching surplus. The inter-Florida rivals have already completed one (lower-profile) trade this offseason, involving righty Burke Badenhop.
- The Mets have talked to Ronny Cedeno and Jack Wilson, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Wilson has been linked to the Mets for a few weeks, but Cedeno is a new name in the mix for the Amazins. The Red Sox and Braves have also had interest in Cedeno this offseason.
- Also from Heyman, the Phillies made Michael Cuddyer an early contract offer worth more than $25MM. The club lost interest in Cuddyer, however, after signing Ty Wigginton and Laynce Nix. Cuddyer agreed to a three-year, $31.5MM deal today with the Rockies.
- Dontrelle Willis sounded confident that he will play alongside his longtime friend Jimmy Rollins with the Phillies next season, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Jose Reyes has yet to speak to Hanley Ramirez since signing with the Marlins, according to The Associated Press. "As soon as I have the opportunity, I'm going to talk to him, because we are very good friends," Reyes said. "We're both here for one reason — to win the World Series. It doesn't matter where I'm going to play or where he's going to play."
- The Braves will rely on several players aged 24 and under next season, but Fangraphs' Jason Roberts thinks the health of veterans like Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson are bigger concerns for the club.
The Braves are among the teams interested in free agent shortstop Ronny Cedeno, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter). The Peter E. Greenberg & Associates client has been on Atlanta's backup shortstop and utility list all offseason, O'Brien reports.
The Pirates declined Cedeno's option earlier this offseason, after he posted a .249/.297/.339 line in 454 plate appearances. The 28-year-old posted a strong 6.8 UZR/150 at shortstop this past season, though his career mark of -1.6 UZR/150 is slightly below average. The Red Sox and Pirates were also linked to Cedeno earlier this offseason, but they've since added depth in Nick Punto and Clint Barmes, respectively.
Alex Gonzalez won't return to Atlanta; he agreed to terms with the Brewers last week. GM Frank Wren figures to add a shortstop on a one-year deal to provide Tyler Pastornicky with time to develop into an everyday player. Yuniesky Betancourt, Cesar Izturis, Ryan Theriot and Jack Wilson are among the available free agent shortstops.
The latest on the Mets's search for bullpen help, with the newest updates on top…
- Rauch and the Mets had "good talks" today and are making progress, tweets Rubin.
- The Mets have a list of about 11 attainable relievers, says Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Rubin adds Octavio Dotel and Jason Isringhausen to the names mentioned below.
- Jose Reyes' agent met with the Mets about other clients such as Endy Chavez, Cesar Izturis, and Ronny Cedeno, which was described as "a little awkward."
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post is getting a strong feeling the Mets are closing in on a late-inning relief type, other than Francisco Cordero. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News hears the same, and says to think Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, and Brad Lidge types. Martino thinks a deal could happen tonight. Alderson told reporters the Mets are more likely to sign two lesser-priced relievers than one expensive guy.
- The Mets will probably send someone to see Joel Zumaya throw next week, tweets Sherman.
- Alderson will meet with Scott Boras today, though he told reporters Francisco Rodriguez is unlikely.
- The Mets' five or so top prospects will not be traded, Alderson told reporters including Rubin.
- The Mets have interest in bringing 40-year-old righty Miguel Batista back, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
Dale Sveum interviewed with the Red Sox for a second time today, and the team expects to bring in at least one more managerial finalist for a second interview. However, it's still a mystery who that finalist will be. Pete Mackanin has been told he's no longer in the running, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter), and Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com tweets that Sandy Alomar Jr. and Gene Lamont hadn't heard anything from the team about a second interview as of this evening. Torey Lovullo rounded out Boston's original five interviewees, but Larry Lucchino said tonight that the Sox could "absolutely" expand their search, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.
While we wait to see where Boston's hunt for Terry Francona's replacement takes them, let's check out a few more AL East links….
- The Red Sox are keeping tabs on free agent shortstops, according to the Boston Herald's Michael Silverman. Silverman hears the Sox have checked in on everyone from Jose Reyes to Ronny Cedeno.
- Rays GM Andrew Friedman expects to receive plenty of inquiries on his starting pitchers, but tells Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times not to count on a trade.
- The Orioles hope to sign a few free agents to fill out their bench within the next week or so, GM Dan Duquette told MASN's Roch Kubatko.
- In a mailbag, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm answered Blue Jays-related questions, many of which revolved around the team's hunt for a closer.
The Pirates provided fans around baseball with some midseason excitement before fading in August and September and finishing with a 72-90 mark. GM Neal Huntington knows the next step is sustaining success into September and beyond, but getting there is a definite challenge. Here are some updates on Huntington’s Pirates from the Milwaukee GM Meetings…
- The Pirates moved quickly on Rod Barajas because they believe he can add power and work with the Pittsburgh pitching staff at an affordable price, Huntington said.
- Plus, the Pirates considered the catching market to be "very weak." They recently signed Barajas to a one-year, $4MM deal that includes a club option for 2013.
- The Pirates may discuss a new deal with Ronny Cedeno and his representatives, Peter E. Greenberg & Associates. Pittsburgh declined its $3MM option on the shortstop after the World Series, making him a free agent. The Pirates also appear to have interest in Ramon Santiago.
The decision on Cedeno was the Pirates' one unknown. Though a case could be made that the value of Cedeno's ability to play shortstop exceeded the $2.8MM net price of his option, the Pirates will aim higher than his .249/.297/.339 batting line.
For Maholm, the Pirates chose a $750K buyout over his $9.75MM club option. The lefty told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "The day I was put on the DL, I realized my time in Pittsburgh was done." Prior to that season-ending stint for a shoulder injury, the 29-year-old posted a 3.66 ERA, 5.4 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 0.61 HR/9, and 49.9% groundball rate in 162 1/3 innings. As one of the ten best starters on the free agent market this winter, he's in line for a multiyear deal.
The Pirates' decisions to pay Snyder a $750K buyout over a $6.75MM option and Doumit a $500K buyout over a $7.25MM option were well-known. Both players have offensive ability, and should be relatively popular on the free agent market. Doumit's defense and durability questions will likely prevent a team from offering a full-time catching job, while Snyder will have to compete for one after missing most of 2011 with a back injury.
Some late-night links on this Saturday night …
- The Pirates are considering exercising shortstop Ronny Cedeno's $3MM 2012 option, but they will likely pass on options for Chris Snyder ($6.75MM), Ryan Doumit ($7.25MM) and Paul Maholm ($9.75MM), according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. As well, Langosch adds the Bucs have interest in re-signing first baseman Derrek Lee but will probably allow Ryan Ludwick to walk in free agency.
- MLB and the players union are close on a new collective bargaining agreement, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com, although slotting for draft signing bonuses remains an issue of debate. Commissioner Bud Selig and some small-market teams are in favor of hard slotting, according to Heyman.
- Cubs president Theo Epstein said he wants to talk to starter Carlos Zambrano before deciding how to proceed in handling the right-hander, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, whether that be retaining Zambrano or trying to trade him. As well, Epstein hinted at one of the organization's overarching goals: "We're looking for assets," Epstein said. "We're going to scratch and claw and do everything in our power — in the Draft, internationally, small trades, waiver claims. We need to build assets because we don't have enough of them.
- Royals GM Dayton Moore told Dick Kaegel of MLB.com that he will "explore trade possibilities to add a starter." Moore said the Royals probably won't try to sign a free-agent starter, however.
There's one day of regular season games remaining on the schedule and it's going to be a good one. The Rays and Red Sox are tied with 90-71 records and the Braves and Cardinals are tied with 89-72 records. Two of those clubs will make the playoffs as Wild Card teams and the others will be watching the postseason along with the rest of us. Here are today's links…
- The Red Sox could still acquire a starting pitcher for a possible play-in game with the Rays (it would take place Thursday). But as Rob Bradford of WEEI.com explains, the Red Sox would have to complete a deal by tomorrow night for MLB to allow it.
- Matt Kemp (NL MVP), Craig Kimbrel (NL Rookie of the Year), Jose Bautista (AL MVP), Justin Verlander (AL Cy Young) and Dustin Ackley (AL Rookie of the Year) would all win major awards this offseason if ESPN.com's Keith Law had the only vote for each honor.
- Ronny Cedeno told MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch that he hopes the Pirates exercise his $3MM option instead of buying him out for $200K. The Pirates don't have an obvious internal candidate to replace Cedeno and his .251/.299/.339 batting line.
- Tom Tango wonders if adding a salary cap would actually help small-market teams like the Pirates. If MLB implemented a salary cap, rich teams could spend more on player development and research.
- The owners are concerned that realigning MLB into two 30-team leagues would limit their ability to market interleague play, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. No one is talking about expansion given the current issues troubling many teams, but at some point adding two clubs could be a way for owners to ensure that each league has an even number of teams.
Free agent addition Kevin Correia makes his sixth start as a Pirate tonight and he carries a 3.48 ERA into Pittsburgh's contest with the Rockies and their high-powered offense. Here's the latest on the Pirates…
- The Pirates expect waiver claim Xavier Paul to play all three outfield positions, according to Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Manager Clint Hurdle told Dunlap that he's confident Paul can cover lots of ground on defense, a skill the Pirates appear to value more than John Bowker's hitting ability at the moment.
- Hurdle told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the Pirates didn't have much use for Bowker. "He was my third left fielder, my third right fielder, my third first baseman," Hurdle said.
- Though newcomer Brandon Wood has started three consecutive games at shortstop, Hurdle told Biertempfel that Ronny Cedeno hasn't necessarily lost his job. Cedeno failed to run out a ground ball this week and has been struggling at the plate.
- Earlier this morning, the Pirates returned Rule 5 pick Josh Rodriguez to the Indians.
The Pirates have avoided arbitration with Ronny Cedeno and Jeff Karstens, signing both players to one-year contracts. MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch has the contract details. Cedeno will earn a $1.85MM base in 2011, and has a club option for '12 that includes significant incentives based on starts. Karstens will earn $1.1MM next year.
Cedeno is the incumbent starter at shortstop, though the Pirates are known to be looking for help at the position. The veteran has played mostly shortstop over the last two years, but has also played second, third and the outfield in his career. Cedeno has a .682 OPS in 672 plate appearances as a Pirate.
Karstens came to the Bucs in July 2008 as part of the trade that sent Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady to the Yankees. In 74 appearances (41 of them starts) for Pittsburgh, Karstens has posted a 4.95 ERA and a 1.73 K/BB ratio. As Biertempfel pointed out in his longer article, Karstens' $1.1MM salary for 2011 is almost triple what he earned last season.
Other news from Biertempfel…
- Infielder Argenis Diaz, outfielder Lastings Milledge and left-handers Brian Burres and Donald Veal were all non-tendered by the Bucs, but the club wants to re-sign Burres and Veal. Diaz "is unlikely to return."
- Milledge could be welcomed back "if we think it's the right fit for the team, and he thinks it's the right fit for him," said Neal Huntington. The Pirates GM said he couldn't work out a contract with Milledge before the non-tender deadline and "began to explore alternatives" to fill Milledge's corner outfield spot. Two options are Jack Cust and Matt Diaz, both of whom were non-tendered themselves by the A's and Braves, respectively.