It appears unlikely the Pittsburgh Pirates will exercise shortstop Ronny Cedeno's 2012 club option for $3 million, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Cedeno told Kovacevic the Pirates have yet to approach him about the 2012 season, but that shouldn't throw anyone off.
The Pirates don't need to, nor should they, sit down with Cedeno about the 2012 season until their set deadline with the shortstop. Not to mention, the Pirates have had other priorities with the draft, international free agency, and negotiations with Jose Tabata, Neil Walker (and hopefully other young players as well).
It's been a hot topic as of late on Bucs Dugout, and it appears the consensus among fans is to bring back the shortstop. The Pirates have needed a shortstop for years, but is getting rid of Ronny Cedeno the solution?
The Anti-Ronny Camp:
The 28-year-old Cedeno is hitting .257/.306/.351 in 423 plate appearances this season; the average shortstop is hitting .261/.315/.376 this year. Cedeno is posting a 1.8 fWAR (.5 fWAR from defense) shows he's a below-average player. Give the 500 plate appearances Cedeno would get in 2012 to internal options such as Chase D'Arnaud or Pedro Ciriaco. Cedeno can't hit, doesn't have power, poor plate discipline, and isn't going to swipe bags for you. What's the reason for keeping him around? Besides, isn't it time for the Pirates to get a shortstop who can be average/above-average (2007: Last time a Pirates shortstop posted a WAR over 2).
The Pro-'Deno Camp:
With all that going against Ronny Cedeno, I still think he's the best option for the Pirates. Primarily because the Pirates will get a cheap, serviceable shortstop without a long-term commitment. While Cedeno is a below-average player, he certainly isn't below-replacement. As Bucs Dugout pointed out, the internal options the Pirates "have a ton to prove", and it certainly won't be done in just a month.
While the Pirates do have a pressing need to find a long-term option at shortstop, the solution isn't going to be found in this off-season's free agent class. Unless the small-market team from Pittsburgh can somehow pony up a huge contract for Jose Reyes, or blow Philadelphia's proposal for Jimmy Rollins out of the water. The realistic replacements available aren't worth the hit to the payroll or playing time being taken away from internal options.