Ronny Cedeno or Clint Barmes?

So the Pirates are nearing a two-year $11MM deal with Clint Barmes. That basically pays him to be a league-average shortstop over the next two years, which isn’t so bad. As @JunkStats points out, Barmes has averaged roughly 2 WAR/season since 2008, and it’s not like he’s that old. He’s 32. Had the Giants signed him for this amount, I think I would have been content. Especially considering that a) the John McDonalds and Willie Bloomquists of the world have gotten pretty friendly deals this offseason, and b) the Giants paid Miguel Tejada $6.5MM last offseason.

The Barmes deal has sparked an interesting debate: Ronny Cedeno v. Clint Barmes. Cedeno had a $3MM club option for 2012, but the Pirates chose not to pick it up — and to instead pay the $200K buyout. This is after Cedeno produced roughly 1.5 WAR this season (regardless of your metric of choice). That’s nearly league-average production, and worth about $6-7MM on the open market. In fact, there are those that believe that Cedeno (contract aside) is a better shortstop than Barmes.

Now I’m not one of those people. Cedeno’s a career .246/.286/.353 (63 wRC+) hitter, whereas Barmes is a career .252/.302/.401 (74 wRC+) hitter. Bill James projects the two for nearly a twenty-point difference in weighted on-base average. The defense is a little harder to measure, given how unreliable defensive metrics tend to be, but I’m inclined to believe that Barmes is also the better defender of the two. Go ahead and peruse their defensive ratings if you’d like (Barmes, Cedeno).

In any event, Cedeno’s not a worthless shortstop. He can’t hit, but for an above-average defensive shortstop, he’s not that bad. The Pirates very well may have set the market for Cedeno by declining his option, and if he’s getting a one-year $2MM deal this offseason…that’s pretty enticing. It kills me to say this — it honestly does. This is a guy that has batted ninth (behind the pitcher) many times in his career.

Yet at the same time, the Giants, as a team, didn’t hit much better than Cedeno in 2011. They’re out on Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins, and there are very few acceptable options left. They’re not going to spend big on shortstop, so their best route is to buy low. In this case, Cedeno appears to be a solid stopgap. He’s slightly better than Brandon Crawford, but more importantly, he’d allow Crawford to develop his hitting in Triple-A this season.

Yes, I’m seriously advocating for the Giants to sign Ronny Cedeno.

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14 thoughts on “Ronny Cedeno or Clint Barmes?

  1. I’m a diehard Pirates fan and I LOVE Ronnie Cedeno, he gets a bad rap because when he makes an error it’s usually on something easy, but he can do absolutely astounding things on the field and make it look effortless. His bat is also underrated. It isn’t great, but he’s been clutch at getting things started when a rally is what’s needed. Also, I honestly believe that his 2011 numbers were depressed because the coach’s were trying to tinker with him too much.

    I would love to see what he can do on a contending team.

  2. I took another look at this at Beyond the Box Score. Barmes is clearly the better player, but I think Pittsburgh better off exercising Cedeno’s option.

    Anyway, as it relates to the Giants, I think if Cedeno’s 2011 defense is his true talent level, he’s easily better than Crawford right now. If not, he’s still slightly better (thought it’s probably a wash). Even so, at $2MM, I think the Giants should sign Cedeno. Crawford stands to benefit from some significant playing time in AAA, and more importantly, Cedeno represents cheap insurance.

  3. Pirate fan also, I don’t hate Ronny but he just isn’t smart.Dumb as a bag of hammers.Hurdle didn’t seem to like him and I believe that’s why the Bucs didn’t exercise the option.Barmes and Hurdle were together with the Rockies and probably have a good relationship.

  4. At this point, I think the Giants are better off going with Crawford as the starter and just re-upping Fonty as the utility guy. Fonty was actually a plus fielder at SS last year, the most he’s ever played the position. He can also play 2B and 3B if necessary. He’s also projected by Bill James(ZIPS aren’t out yet) to hit about 50 OPS points higher than Cedeno.

  5. ‘Fonty and Craw’ can probably hold the fort if they are going to ink Beltran. If no Beltran, Giants can still sign Rollins and keep payroll under 135 million. Seems possible.

  6. 2 questions:

    Is Adrian Gonzalez’ brother Edgar still in the organization?

    Is Emmanuel Burriss capable of backing SS as well as Fontenont or Cedeno?

  7. If you are approaching it from the viewpoint Crawford is the starter and Freddy Sanchez will need 50-60 games off, one year of Cedeno seems OK, at that option decline rate 1/3MM. Will he get more in this market?

    Fontenot looks really good right now, the only problem being that he also hits lefty so platooning him with Crawford doesn’t work so well. The Giants should tender Keppinger for trade value alone. But that Freddy Sanchez backup is pretty important, which is why Barmes looked good.

    I’d prefer Cedeno to older guys like Alex Gonzalez. Are the Tigers re-signing Ramon Santiago or is he an option? At this point I think cheaper is better, these guys are all flawed.

    • Ramon Santiago’s another intriguing option (he is an FA, don’t know if he’ll be resigned). He’s arguably better than Clint Barmes, even. I just wish the Giants would sign Reyes. Not many teams seem after him (Mets seem to have lost interest, and Hanley Ramirez says he doesn’t want to switch positions)

      • Why not ? Could sign Reyes and still operate with a budget under 140 million. Just have to outbid the Marlins and the Brewers it seems. A lineup with Schierholtz batting 8th would have nice depth.

      • Problem is: the Giants FO has made it clear they’re not pursuing Reyes, or even Rollins. As far as top-tier (or middle-tier) FAs go, the Giants might go after Beltran, but that seems unlikely. They just don’t want to spend money on hitting.

      • Santiago seems likely to re-sign with the Tigers, he’s a career AL guy on his 2nd stint with the Tigers, who signed him out of the DR. Switch hitter with not bad splits, 3.8 WAR in 3 years FG 5.0 WAR BR (DWAR 2.7). Coming off a 2/2.5 who knows in this market but everything seems to be doubling. Played more 2nd than short. He’s averaged about 100 games a year. Interesting.

        The Reyes market will take a while to develop, but if the Marlins offer was actually below the reported 6/90 a lot of teams will get in. The entire NL East (Atlanta bowed out but they’ll get back in if the high bid is 6/80), MIL & CINC just in the NL. The Giants would have to overbid to get Reyes attention. I think he wants to stay on the east coast as far south as possible, money being the only thing that will sway. My prediction is Washington, that owner is loaded and wants to make a splash, obviously isn’t afraid to spend money.

  8. Rollins likely to resign with Philly? If they don’t shoot their wad on Cuddyer and Oswalt, he’s probably a shoe in to be retained. If they low ball him however, I wonder if Sabean makes a competitive offer as an alternative to Beltran.

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