According to Rob Biertempfel, the Pittsburgh Pirates are close to a deal with Ronny Cedeno, which would avoid arbitration. The non-tender deadline is a few hours away, and we learned earlier today that the Pirates were trying to work out a one year deal with Cedeno. Biertempfel mentions that the deal should be worth around $2 M, which is about what I estimated in the 2011 40-man roster/payroll projection.
Cedeno was a below average shortstop in 2010, and the Pirates have been recently looking at other shortstop options, like J.J. Hardy and Jason Bartlett. It’s unknown whether the Pirates would pursue Hardy or Bartlett with Cedeno under contract. Cedeno is only making $2 M, which might be a little much for a backup, although it’s not unfamiliar territory. The Pirates paid Ramon Vazquez $2 M in 2008 to serve as the backup to Jack Wilson, which means it’s not out of the question that the Pirates could seek an upgrade.
Cedeno has the tools to be a top defensive shortstop, but lacks consistency, which limits him to being below average overall. This would be a contract year for him, and perhaps that would be motivation enough for him to maintain consistency all season. If the Pirates don’t add an external option, and if Cedeno lacks consistency again in 2011, the Pirates could turn to either Argenis Diaz or Pedro Ciriaco, who are both strong defensively, but struggle at the plate.
UPDATE 12:52 AM: Biertempfel reports that Cedeno will receive $2 M guaranteed, with a club option for the 2012 season. Nothing yet on the breakdown of the deal. My original projection was $1.8 M for Cedeno in 2011, and it sounds like that projection will be close.