Cubs Clearinghouse: Ronny Cedeno

As mentioned in yesterday’s article about Rich Hill, the Chicago Cubs organization is facing tough decisions on young players who are all out of minor league options. The club has already sold low on outfield prospect Felix Pie, who was dispatched to Baltimore for a No. 4 or 5 starter and a minor league pitcher. Infielder Ronny Cedeno is another player that is currently on the bubble, and he could very well find himself traded before April 5.

Due to the club’s lack of depth in other areas on the big league roster, any trade would probably have to bring back minor league talent, which would help the somewhat barren system. If the Cubs cannot find suitable trading partners for Cedeno, or for Hill, the organization may want to find a way to work the players onto the 25-man roster. Pie had the greatest trade value of the three players and the organization could only get Garrett Olson back for him.

Cedeno has the chance to be at least an average Major League starting middle infielder. He wowed a lot of people at shortstop while coming up through the minors but has not been quite as consistent at the Major League level and his range has been hampered at times. Cedeno, 26, spent a fair bit of time at second base in 2008 and looked solid, making only two errors in 273 innings.

Offensively, Cedeno is still a work in progress. He spent the majority of 2006 as the Cubs’ starting shortstop but hit just .245/.271/.339 with an ISO of .094 in 534 at-bats. Cedeno then spent the majority of the 2007 season in Triple-A where he hit .359/.422/.537 in 75 games.

In 2008, Cedeno had a chance to play a number of positions for the Cubs and showed improvements with the bat over the 2006 season by posting a line of .269/.328/.352 with an ISO of .083. Now obviously those numbers do not set the world on fire, but Cedeno showed the ability to make adjustments and improvements while also not playing every day, which can be tough for a young player.

Cedeno’s walk rate improved significantly between 2006 and 2008 and more than doubled from 3.1 to 7.7 BB%. His strikeout rate held close from 20.4 to 19.0 K%, which is still a little high for a player of his skill set (ie. zero power). Cedeno also does not show an aptitude for stealing bases, having stolen just 15 in 25 attempts in 329 MLB games.

Both the Bill James and CHONE projection systems feel Cedeno is going to show more improvements in 2009 by hitting .277/.324/.393 and .281/.332/.412, respectively. Marcel, meanwhile, sees the Venezuelan taking a small step backward.

There are a number of clubs that could benefit from a middle infielder that possesses some potential upside with the bat, as well as solid defence. Teams that could use Cedeno at shortstop include the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, and San Diego Padres.

Here is a comparison, offensively, of some of the players being considered for starting gigs by the teams listed above – all of whom are at least two years older than Cedeno.

.269/.328/.352 | $0.8 M | Ronny Cedeno (Chicago NL)
.267/.332/.356 | $1.1 M | Marco Scutaro (Toronto)
.265/.289/.429 | $1.3 M | Wilson Betemit (Chicago AL)
.284/.344/.382 | $4.0 M | Nick Punto (Minnesota)
.237/.296/.349 | $5.3 M | Bobby Crosby (Oakland)
.265/.343/.349 | $0.9 M | David Eckstein (San Diego)

How out-of-whack do the Punto and Crosby 2009 salaries look? Those teams could certainly benefit by taking a flyer on Cedeno, who has the chance to surpass each and every one of them offensively. He’s probably already a better fielder than any of those Major Leaguers- and he’s also the least expensive player on the list.



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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


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Patrick
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Patrick
7 years 5 months ago

The White Sox starting SS is probably going to be Alexi Ramirez who is projected to have an OBP/SLG of 324/473 which is marginally better then Mr. Cedeno. They also have Chris Getz, Lillibridge and Beckham in the majors or high minors as 2B/SS.

Betemit currently projects as a starting third baseman or hopefully the utility guy.

I’d argue, with the above, that Cedeno would not be a target of the White Sox as they have comparable, or better, players in their system already who are also available for the minimum, Getz and Beckham.

However, I do like Cedeno and hope he catches on somewhere he can play. Also, isn’t Eck supposed to be playing 2B for the Pads?

Pat
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Pat
7 years 5 months ago

How did you determine that Cedeno is “probably already a better fielder” than Punto?

China Brown
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China Brown
7 years 5 months ago

Cedeno is not exactly on the outside looking in, forcing the Cubs’ hand the way Pie did. It’s extremely likely that he’ll break camp with the club. The Cubs currently have 4 players to play 2nd, 3rd and short. It would seem foolhardy to me to think that the Cubs would choose only now to give up on Cedeno at his price and proven big league production level.

KY
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7 years 5 months ago

But your own site’s win values say Punto has averaged 2 wins a season the last three years. Well under the 4 million he’s going to make and well ahead of anything Mr. Cedeno is likely to generate.

?
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?
7 years 5 months ago

2.8 WAR/650 PA, $12.6m FMV

ofMontreal
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ofMontreal
7 years 5 months ago

Agreeing with China Brown, I’d also like to point out that Ryan Theriot is not a good shortstop and if he doesn’t put up last seasons numbers he will be the guy on the bench. The Dodgers showed you could basically knock the bat out of his hands. Cedeno is getting better and could easily have his job.

cowdisciple
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cowdisciple
7 years 5 months ago

I’ll echo the criticism of probably a better fielder than Punto — According to Fangraphs, Punto’s UZR/150 at SS is 12, 36.5, 35.5, 21.7, 18.6, and 25.8 from ’08 to ’03. Granted that’s only 166 games combined, but it’s pretty damned good. Subjectively, I agree with UZR/150 that he’s a fantastic defender. Cedeno is -24.7, -1.3, 15.2, and -25.9 in ’05 to ’08 in 205 games for the Cubs. I haven’t seen him play much, but nonetheless — Justify your statement.

China Brown
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China Brown
7 years 4 months ago

Or, I was entirely wrong.

Mortimer Mouse
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Mortimer Mouse
7 years 4 months ago

I’ll use this to impugn your credibility whenever I get the chance.

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6 years 4 months ago

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6 years 4 months ago

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