Ronny Cedeno Rumors
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.
The Pirates would like to upgrade at shortstop and are interested in Jason Bartlett and J.J. Hardy, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Pirates would like to upgrade over Ronny Cedeno before the 2011 season starts and Hardy and Bartlett appear to be available.
Cedeno, 27, batted .256/.293/.382 in 502 plate appearances last year. He has never shown much power in six big league seasons and has a .284 OBP in his career. Though he doesn't provide much offense, few shortstops do. Bartlett posted an identical .675 OPS last year and that was better than the marks Orlando Cabrera, Yunel Escobar, Elvis Andrus, Erick Aybar, Alcides Escobar and Cesar Izturis posted.
- The Mariners "quietly have interest" in Ryne Sandberg, writes Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post.
- Jayson Werth is looking for an agency willing to charge a lower commission than the usual 5%, reports Ken Davidoff of Newsday. Davidoff provides an update on Werth's search for representation and examines the chances of the Yankees pursuing the outfielder this offseason.
- In a separate piece, Davidoff looks at some options for the Mets' next manager and GM.
- There are hints that Tony La Russa is leaning toward managing the Cardinals in 2011, as Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes.
- The Blue Jays will call up top prospect Kyle Drabek to make his major league debut Wednesday in Baltimore, according to the team (Twitter link).
- Ronny Cedeno is on his way to locking up the Pirates' 2011 shortstop job, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas points out that Darren Oliver needs to make just one more appearance to guarantee his option for next season.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo tells MASN (Twitter link) that the team is still "in conversations" to keep Adam Dunn in Washington.
A few tidbits from around the majors....
- Blue Jays reliever Jeremy Accardo hopes to be non-tendered tomorrow, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. The righty, 28 this month, dealt with a groin injury and bounced up and down between Triple A and the Majors this year. He earned $900K.
- Cases of players avoiding arbitration and signing for 2010, according to the AP: Matt Diaz of the Braves at $2.55MM, Ronny Cedeno of the Pirates at $1.125MM, and Esteban German of the Rangers at $600K. Diaz gets a 106% raise, heading into his third arbitration year.
- The AP also notes that the Nationals signed pitcher Ryan Speier for $425K. The 30-year-old toiled at Triple A for the Rockies this year, mainly.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (via Twitter) reports that the Diamondbacks have avoided going to arbitration with Augie Ojeda by re-signing the veteran infielder to a one-year deal. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic says the contract is worth $825K. Ojeda, 34, has spent the last three seasons with Arizona and hit .246/.340/.345 in 309 plate appearances in 2009. The defensive specialist is a valuable utilityman, able to play second, third and shortstop.
- Twins GM Bill Smith tells Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that his traditionally low-spending team has "substantial funds" to cover arbitration raises and potential signings that could raise Minnesota's payroll into the $90MM neighborhood for next season. The general manager was predictably non-committal when asked if "substantial" translated to "enough to extend Joe Mauer."
- NPB Tracker passes on news from Japanese site Sanspo.com that the Yakult Swallows will announce next week that they have signed Eulogio De La Cruz. The right-hander was released by the Padres on Wednesday. De La Cruz has an 11.84 ERA in 15 appearances over three seasons with San Diego, Florida and Detroit.
- The White Sox seem ready to stick with Randy Williams as the only left-handed reliever (besides, of course, set-up man Matt Thornton) next season, as Chicago GM Kenny Williams told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Gonzales notes that if the club changes its mind, a possible target could be former White Sox reliever Neal Cotts, who will be non-tendered by the Cubs tomorrow.
According to Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the Pirates plan on tendering contracts to their three key arbitration eligible players: closer Matt Capps, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, and starter Zach Duke. Jeff Karstens may also qualify as a Super Two.
Capps earned $2.3MM this season, the second year of the two year, $3.05MM contract he signed last April. With three more years of arbitration ahead of him, Capps may have been a non-tender candidate after posting a 5.68 ERA and sky-high homerun rate (1.7 HR/9 IP) in 2009."I don't see a situation in which we non-tender Capps unless we get completely unrealistic financial demands," [GM Neal] Huntington said. "From the standpoint of our belief in his ability, that's absolutely there."
Duke and Cedeno, on the other hand, earned $2.2MM and $822K this season, respectively. Duke was an All Star for the first time in 2009, although Cedeno hasn't hit much after coming over in the Jack Wilson deal. The team could approach Duke about a long-term extension, similar to the three year, $14.5MM deal they gave Paul Maholm earlier this year.