Ronny Cedeno will be playing for his fifth different Major League team in 2013. The utility infielder has agreed to a one-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals worth $1.15 million. The deal all but insures the Cardinals have a back-up plan in case Rafael Furcal's elbow does not hold up during the season.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports had the initial report:
Ronny cedeno appears headed to the #STLCards— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 28, 2013
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports confirmed the contract totals not long after:
Cedeno deal with #STLCards official. Terms, according to a source: One year, $1.15M with $850K in performance bonuses - maximum $2M.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 28, 2013
Cedeno will be receiving a slight pay reduction from his 2012 contract with the New York Mets, but the performance bonuses could bump it to a point where Cedeno could make more this season than any other in his career. To date, the highest single-season salary Cedeno has made was in 2011 when he made $1.85 million.
Cedeno is a veteran infielder who can play numerous positions. He has the most experience at shortstop, but he has played second base, third base, and even some outfield. His versatility was the main selling point for the Cardinals who were looking for depth off their bench. Cedeno's bat certainly wasn't the reason St. Louis went after him.
Last year, Cedeno hit .259/.332/.410 in 78 games. In his career, he has hit .247/.290/.357. Cedeno is a slightly above-average defender, but considering he has never really found a home when out in the field, he may be better than his numbers suggest. But again, the Cardinals picked him up, because he offers protection.
Rafael Furcal went down with an elbow injury toward the end of last season. The Cardinals scrambled to plug the hole with Pete Kozma, but the team would like to use Kozma in an expanded role in 2013. They don't want to rely on him to be the stop gap if Furcal is not completely healed. Cedeno offers that protection. And he offers it for a relatively low price.
UPDATE: The Cardinals have designated left-hander Barret Browning for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Cedeno, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
Browning, 28, appeared in 21 games for the Cards in 2012 -- his first big-league season -- posting a 5.12 ERA in 19⅓ innings.