Ronny Cedeno Rumors
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.
Some more links to go along with what's been a slow Sunday thus far:
- If you haven't already, take a look at Jorge Arangure Jr.'s article on Aroldis Chapman. Arangure covers Chapman's journey and the decisions and sacrifices that he made when he defected from the Cuban national team. There are also two videos (one Insider only) to go along with the story. It's lengthy, but a great read. Peter Abraham offers a cautionary note regarding Chapman: "...keep in mind that the same things were being said about Jose Contreras and he’s just another guy at this point. There’s a lot more to being a great pitcher in the majors than having a good arm."
- Dejan Kovacevic has some of Pirates general manager Neal Huntington's thoughts on several issues, including the club's recent losses and the need for a left-handed reliever. Jen Langosch has some of Huntington's thoughts as well, on topics including the farm system and newly-acquired Ronny Cedeno. Huntington would rather have a quality arm who can retire both left- and right-handed hitters than just a left-handed specialist.
- Bad new for Indians fans: Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Jake Westbrook experienced another setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and will see Dr. Lewis Yocum this week. Westbrook isn't sure if the pain is something he should expect and work through, or if there are new issues in his arm. General manager Mark Shapiro has said that if Westbrook is healthy, he'll be Cleveland's opening day starter in 2010.
- Buster Olney has a new article up, and talks about the Dodgers' shrinking lead on the NL West. Olney wonders if, with a growing need for starting pitching, the Dodgers will call on John Smoltz to try his hand back in the National League. Olney stresses that the Smoltz idea is just his own personal speculation.
- Joel Sherman's Sunday Hardball column looks at how to fix the Mets for 2010. His solution begins with Mark DeRosa and Chone Figgins.
1:24pm: Kovacevic reports that the Pirates will pay nearly all of the money owed to Wilson and Snell this year. The Mariners will pay each player $400k. Kovacevic breaks out the calculator and finds that the Pirates will send a total of $3,308,702.19 to Seattle along with Snell and Wilson.
12:28pm: Kovacevic hears that the Pirates are contributing a "significant amount" of cash in the deal.
12:16pm: ESPN's Buster Olney believes the Mariners might be inclined to exercise Wilson's 2010 option, which wasn't likely for the Pirates. Jack Zduriencik's comments support this: "As we move forward over the next few years it is nice to know that we have solidified the shortstop position."
11:58am: Kovacevic says Cedeno's the only player who will report to the Pirates. Clement will head to Triple A, the others to A ball.
11:45am: Kovacevic says the Mariners acquire Wilson and Ian Snell for Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin and Nathan Adcock.
11:41am: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Mariners acquire Jack Wilson in the deal.
11:40am: Ed Price of AOL FanHouse hears that the Pirates are getting Jeff Clement from the Mariners along with other minor leaguers.
WEDNESDAY, 10:14am: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report that the Indians and Rays say they're not involved in talks for Clement, who was told last night that he's about to be dealt.
I have it on pretty reliable source that it is not injury related. Clement has been rumored to be part of possible trades already this season and maybe he is part of a package deal. Or perhaps, he is being called up in place of another player for the Mariners, who might be getting dealt.
Meanwhile trade target Jarrod Washburn just wrapped up what could be his last start with the Mariners. He tossed seven strong innings to lower his ERA to a sparkling 2.64 in front of scouts from the Yankees, Phillies, Brewers, and Rangers. Washburn, a Boras client and impending free agent, sure knows how to time his best seasons.
11:39am: ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says the Mariners acquired Cedeno and Garrett Olson from the Cubs for Heilman. Essentially, the Cubs moved two out of options players in Cedeno and Felix Pie to get Heilman, who they've coveted for a while. The Mariners did well here, adding a back-rotation candidate in Olson and competition for Yuniesky Betancourt in Cedeno. They released Randy Messenger to make room for the pair.
Bruce Miles says Heilman will be given a chance to start for the Cubs.
10:55am: Ken Rosenthal confirms the deal, saying the Cubs are on the verge of landing Heilman for Cedeno and a minor league pitcher. The deal is expected to be announced today.
10:25am: According to ESPN Radio's Bruce Levine, the Cubs are close to acquiring pitcher Aaron Heilman from the Mariners. The Ms want shortstop Ronny Cedeno and pitching in return. Heilman was dealt to Seattle in the J.J. Putz trade earlier this winter. Earlier this month, Ken Rosenthal mentioned that the Mariners were likely willing to trade Heilman, "who they did not consider a key component of the Putz trade."
Heilman, 30, is set to earn $1.625MM in '09. He'll be eligible for free agency after the 2010 season.
Levine also mentioned that three teams are interested in out-of-options Cubs hurler Rich Hill.
According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post Ronny Cedeno of the Cubs and Matt Diaz of the Braves have reached deals with their respective teams to avoid arbitration.
Cedeno will make $822K in 2009. Diaz will earn at least $1.2375MM, but could earn $50K more if he makes 600 plate appearances.
A few Cubs notes from Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald...
- Randy Wolf "remains a possibility" for the Cubs. Wolf should generate decent interest if he's willing to sign for one year. He probably expected more after making 33 starts for the second time in his career. A Jake Peavy deal appears unlikely by Opening Day, says Gordon Wittenmyer.
- The Cubs are unlikely to re-sign Henry Blanco, but Paul Bako remains on the radar. So far it's Koyie Hill for the Cubs' backup catcher job.
- Out of options: Rich Hill, Felix Pie, and Ronny Cedeno. Hill and Pie are good candidates to be dealt before Opening Day. Angel Guzman is also out of options, but he has a shot at cracking the team's bullpen.