John Perrotto has a good piece up at the Beave County Times today thinking about some of the big decisions the Pirates face this winter, including the 11 players that are arbitration eligible and Ronny Cedeno’s $3 million option. Here’s the jist of what Perrotto has to say (read through for his reasoning behind):
The Pirates are leaning strongly toward exercising Cedeno’s $3 million club option for 2012 and giving Chase d’Arnaud more time to develop at Class AAA Indianapolis but have only lukewarm interest in retaining Ludwick.
Back to our regular programming. Seven of the 11 players won’t be offered arbitration in December, which would enable them to become free agents. They are Burres, Jones, Ohlendorf, Pearce, Resop, Veras and Wood.
First up, it’s good to see that someone is reporting the team is thinking about bringing Cedeno back. Dejan Kovacevic has said a couple of times that he thinks the club is “unlikely” to bring Cedeno back, and that seems insane to me. Cedeno’s been excellent with the glove at shortstop this year and I don’t see any signs that Chase d’Arnaud is ready for the big leagues offensively or defensively. It might be a mistake to count on Cedeno’s glovework staying strong at the age of 29, but the option is only $3 million and Cedeno’s been worth at least 1 win above replacement the last two seasons (both fWAR and brWAR, if you’re curious), which makes him worth that salary. He’s not a great player, he’s not a long-term option at shortstop, but he’s also not the worst player in the league at short, either. I think d’Arnaud should be given a chance to win the job, but I’m not confident enough in him that I’d jettison Cedeno, if I were the Pirates.
The arbitration decisions are a bit tricker. The four players Perrotto seems certain the Pirates will offer arbitration to are Evan Meek, Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton, and Joel Hanrahan. I don’t have any complaints or qualms there and I’m pretty certain he’s right in that those four will get offers. I’m not sure that all of the other seven will go without offers. Burres, Ohlendorf, Pearce, Veras, and Wood are probably goners (unless they come back on minor league deals and play/pitch their way onto the club, which could happen with Ohlendorf if he’s healthy), but I find it hard to believe the club will let Jones walk without a first baseman for 2012. He’ll go into arbitration as a super-two and shouldn’t be all that expensive in 2012. Unless they trade him, I’d be pretty shocked to see Jones not on the team next year. And while I know Chris Resop has had his struggles this year, his peripherals are pretty great and, again, he won’t be that expensive for 2012, either. Huntington has plenty of good arms to stock his bullpen with with guys like Jared Hughes and Chris Leroux emerging, but I’m not sure I’d be happy to let Resop just walk away.
The Pirates have almost no payroll locked in for 2012, and if they don’t bring back Paul Maholm or the catchers they’ll have practically no payroll obligations at all. Taking six players into the arbitration process might seem daunting, but, well, they do have to field a team in 2012.