Xavier Cedeno Rumors

NL Notes: Bryant, Garcia, Villanueva, Nats, Mets

The Cubs‘ impending decision about whether to have Kris Bryant start the season in the minors has players around baseball talking about service-time rules, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune writes in a story that collects responses to Bryant’s situation from players from several teams. “Hey, we have a chance to make a lot of money in this game, but the rules are the rules,” says Yankees reliever Andrew Miller. “If that works in the Cubs favor, and the Cubs are a better team for that, they’re entitled to (use the rule to their favor). We negotiated that. It’s the reality of what our collective bargaining agreement says.” Here’s more from the National League.

  • Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia will miss his start due to a shoulder issue, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Garcia likely will not be in the team’s Opening Day rotation. Garcia had impressed the team in camp and might well have made the Cardinals’ rotation, particularly since having him start rather than Marco Gonzales or Carlos Martinez would have been the best way for the Cards to protect their assets — they could have easily just optioned Gonzales to the minors, put Martinez in the bullpen and kept all three pitchers. Instead, it’s yet another injury for Garcia, who’s dealt with plenty of them in the past few seasons. There is, however, reason to hope it won’t be serious — GM John Mozeliak (via Langosch on Twitter) characterizes the injury as fatigue and the missed start as “more of a pause than anything.”
  • Pitcher Carlos Villanueva, who’s on a minor-league deal with the Cardinals, can opt out of that deal Monday, Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch notes (via Twitter). Villanueva has gotten fairly good results in camp and has a track record of providing solid performances in a swingman role, so the Cardinals could try to find space for him on their roster.
  • Intentionally or not, the Nationals, who have lefty relievers available, gave the lefty-starved Mets a look at Jerry Blevins Saturday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. (Blevins struck out Curtis Granderson but gave up a triple to Lucas Duda.) The Nationals have Blevins, along with Xavier Cedeno and Matt Thornton, and all are out of options, so they could end up trading one.

NL East Notes: Mets, Coke, Braves

Scouts have identified Cardinals left-hander Sam Freeman and Nationals left-hander Xavier Cedeno as logical trade candidates for the Mets, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com writes.  Both relievers are out of options and unlikely to make their clubs’ Opening Day rosters, though Rubin stresses that the Mets’ level of interest in either player is unknown.  The Mets could be on the lookout for a lefty reliever in the wake of Josh Edgin‘s decision to undergo Tommy John surgery.  Here’s more on the Mets and other news out of the NL East..

  • The Mets don’t see Phil Coke as someone who can help them, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets.  That has been their internal evaluation for some time and that has not changed in the wake of Edgin’s injury.  Coke signed a minor league deal with the Cubs earlier this month and apparently chose that opportunity over at least one MLB offer.
  • Veteran Wandy Rodriguez has pitched effectively enough to position himself for one of the two vacant spots in the Braves‘ rotation, but the team will still have to decide whether its worth taking a $2MM gamble on a pitcher who has made just 18 starts over the last two years, Mark Bowman of MLB.com writes.  The left-hander inked a minor league deal with Atlanta after failing a physical with the Phillies.
  • The Mets have four lefty options in camp in Sean Gilmartin, Dario Alvarez, Jack Leathersich and Scott Rice, but none have shined thus far, as Matt Ehalt of The Bergen Record writes.
  • Meanwhile, the Mets will be keeping their fingers crossed when it comes to starter Zack Wheeler as they’re sending his MRI results to team medical director Dr. David Altchek, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com tweets.  The Mets, meanwhile, are still saying they’re not concerned about Wheeler’s long-term situation.

Mets Notes: Wheeler, Lefties, Puello

Mets starter Zack Wheeler is experiencing elbow discomfort due to tendinitis, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Wheeler has dealt with similar discomfort throughout his career, and the pain increased during last season. At no point did it require an injection, but the club has used “anti-inflammatories and other treatments” in the past. For now, Wheeler will rest to see how it responds. Should it progress to a more serious level, the club could turn to Dillon Gee, Noah Syndergaard, or a number of other pitching prospects.

  • With left-handed reliever Josh Edgin headed to the disabled list, the Mets are keeping tabs on the lefty relief market, writes Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Two early trade candidates are Cardinals southpaw Sam Freeman and Nationals lefty Xavier Cedeno. Both pitchers are out of options and unlikely to make their respective clubs. A scout also floated the idea of Nationals lefty Jerry Blevins. He’s owed $2.4MM, which may exceed what the club is looking to spend. Internal options include Scott Rice, Sean Gilmartin, Dario Alvarez, and Jack Leathersich.
  • Mets outfielder Cesar Puello appears to be in the same situation as Freeman and Cedeno, writes Rubin. Puello is out of options, and he’s either sixth or seventh on the outfield depth chart. If Puello doesn’t make the club, he’ll be exposed to waivers. Last year in Triple-A, the soon-to-be 24-year-old hit .252/.355/.393 with seven home runs and 13 stolen bases.


Nationals Claim Xavier Cedeno

The Nationals claimed lefty reliever Xavier Cedeno off waivers from the Astros, according to a tweet from the team.  They've optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse.  Cedeno had been designated for assignment by the Astros on Thursday.  He nearly made it through unclaimed, as the Nationals were the last team in the waiver order.

Cedeno, 26, was scored upon in four of his five appearances this year.  In 2012, he posted a 3.77 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 0.87 HR/9, and 50.0% groundball rate in 31 relief innings, tossing another 27 2/3 innings at Triple-A.  A native of Puerto Rico, Cedeno was drafted by the Rockies in the 31st round in 2004.  They released him in March 2010, and he signed with the Astros as a free agent in December of that year.  Cedeno made seven appearances in the World Baseball Classic this year for Puerto Rico.

The Nationals only have one other left-handed reliever on their 40-man roster: Zach Duke.


Astros Designate Xavier Cedeno For Assignment

The Astros designated lefty reliever Xavier Cedeno for assignment to open a 40-man roster spot for infielder Brandon Laird, according to a team press release.  The Astros also optioned Brett Wallace to Triple-A.

Cedeno, 26, was scored upon in four of his five appearances this year.  In 2012, he posted a 3.77 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 0.87 HR/9, and 50.0% groundball rate in 31 relief innings, tossing another 27 2/3 innings at Triple-A.  A native of Puerto Rico, Cedeno was drafted by the Rockies in the 31st round in 2004.  They released him in March 2010, and he signed with the Astros as a free agent in December of that year.  Cedeno made seven appearances in the World Baseball Classic this year for Puerto Rico.

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow professed a desire to keep Cedeno in the organization, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.