Ring ‘Em Up: Braves may sign Cedeno, put fans to sleep
BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
The signing of Cedeno will be a move of mediocrity, failing to create any offseason excitement for the team’s followers. And no one could blame fans for feeling that way. If any team signed a nine-year veteran shortstop like Cedeno, it probably wouldn’t create any buzz. Fans can’t exactly start pumping their fists in excitement for a player who carries a .246 career batting average with a dismal 33 home runs.
But if Cedeno commits to the Braves, at least the front office will have fulfilled its goal of signing a veteran shortstop as insurance for rookie Tyler Pastornicky.
Cedeno’s arrival would serve its purpose, but the Braves need an older shortstop to mold the 22-year-old prospect. It’s just extremely tough to get excited about that temporary mentor being Cedeno.
The Braves lack power and he can’t provide it, making fans miss the departed Alex Gonzales that much more. Cedeno’s season high for home runs came in 2009 when he hit a discouraging 10 home runs for the Pittsburgh Pirates. If Cedeno, 28, can’t hit for power, maybe the righty can provide a spark in other areas. Unfortunately, his career numbers in other categories also speak otherwise. Cedeno has no speed, nabbing just 34 stolen bases in 701 career games. And as a starter, his season-high batting average is a weak .256. Cedeno’s .970 fielding percentage does prove he is solid on defense, but the Braves don’t need just another glove. Atlanta will only get that if the Braves sign Cedeno.
The move would be acceptable for its purposes of having another shortstop available before Pastornicky eventually takes over the role. However, Pastornicky is pretty raw and may not excel quickly enough. If that’s the case, Atlanta will have to finally explore solutions to land a permanent shortstop. There’s a good chance Pastornicky will be that guy, but he’s just too young for anyone to believe that he’ll be Atlanta’s starter for the next decade. It’s hard to think of Pastornicky fitting that roll right now because he’s played in just 27 games at the AAA level.
Because Pastornicky seriously lacks the experience, it would make sense for the Braves to pursue a better free agent shortstop than Cedeno.
Atlanta looked like it might be headed in that direction by discussing the possibility of signing Nick Punto. General Manager Frank Wren quickly backed off, though, leaving the Braves to possibly settle on shortstops no better than Cedeno. Wren didn’t even entertain trade talks to obtain Miami Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Wren may think he has his shortstop of the future in Pastornicky, but Ramirez could make the Braves NL East contenders if he discovers what he once had.
Although landing Ramirez or Punto would steer Atlanta to more wins, the idea of possibly getting them shouldn’t even cross a Braves fan’s mind. It’s a sad truth, but WE shouldn’t be left to hold our breath when the most exciting news of a possible offseason deal is the signing of Ronny Cedeno.