(BaseballStL) -- News that the Cards have indeed signed IF Ronny Cedeno to a one year deal won’t cause many headlines around the country. It certainly isn’t the biggest splash in the world.
Of course. A soon-to-be 30 year old that’s hit just .247 with a .290 on-base-percentage for his career isn’t going to do that.
But when you look at the situation the Cardinals are in with respect to the shortstop position, it’s a very necessary move.
Folks, Rafael Furcal’s elbow essentially snapped last year on a very routine play in late August. He’s 35-year old and is clearly on the downside of his career. Should he go down again - something that’s a very realistic possibility - the Cards have to be ready.
Shortstop is a crucial position, especially when you have a pitching staff that likes to pitch to contact.
And if, maybe you can even say when, Furcal goes down...then what? Before this signing all the Cardinals had was Pete Kozma as depth at shortstop. You could mention Ryan Jackson, too, but last October told us everything we needed to know about him.
Kozma > Jackson in the Cards’ mind.
Well, Pete Kozma has hit around .230 in his entire minor league career before coming up to the Major League level and having the success of his life late in 2012. Sure, he was outstanding in September and October. Kozma hit .333 with a .383 OBP in 72 at-bats over 26 games to end the regular season. And while he hit just .214 in the postseason, he still had several huge moments (the go ahead RBI in Game 5 versus the Nationals for one) in October.
It was a great few month stretch for him. Very memorable. Something he’ll always remember. But the Cardinals cannot, and apparently will not, fool themselves into believing Kozma’s transformed himself into a reliable consistent player.
Remember, Rafael Furcal’s 35-years old, on the downside of his career and is coming off a major injury. Whoever is the backup shortstop is absolutely going to be needed this year.
While he was fun to watch last year, Kozma just cannot be trusted for that role going forward. Nearly six years of history trumps a couple months. Facts are facts.
So while, yes, Ronny Cedeno isn’t anything terribly special, he’s a veteran who is still just 30-years old and can play solid defense. He won’t light the world on fire if, okay when, Furcal goes down. But he’s still an upgrade over Kozma.
It had to be done.