Ronny Alexander Cedeno
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 180 lb.
Ronny Cedeno has played ten major league seasons (through 2014). His nephew Yangervis Solarte has also played in the majors.
Cedeno was signed by scout Alberto Rondon for the Chicago Cubs in August 1999 at age 16. He debuted as a pro with the 2000 VSL Cubs, hitting .287/.370/.425. He seemingly had a breakout year in 2001 with the AZL Cubs, batting .350/.398/.466 with 17 SB in 27 tries; promoted to the Lansing Lugnuts for 17 games, he hit .196/.257/.357. He led the 2001 Arizona League in average (by .007) and was second with 72 hits (2 behind Alejandro Cadena). He tied for the most putouts at shortstop (83) but also tied Andy Gonzalez for the most errors there (22). He lost All-Star honors at SS to Gonzalez. Baseball America rated him as the #5 prospect in the AZL, right ahead of Johan Santana.
Ronny struggled in 2002, split between Lansing (.213/.269/.295, 14 SB, 10 CS in 98 G) and the Boise Hawks (.218/.275/.300 in 29 G). He moved up to the Daytona Cubs in 2003 but eked out a .211/.257/.295 batting line; the lone positive was his baserunning, as he was 19-for-25 in steal attempts.
In 2004, Cedeno improved to .279/.328/.401 with the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx but was only 10-for-20 in stealing. Cedeno led Southern League shortstops in both putouts (168) and fielding percentage (.963) in a good all-around campaign.
Cedeno split 2005 between the Iowa Cubs (.355/.403/.518 in 55 G, 11-for-14 in SB) and the majors (.300/.356/.375 in 41 G in a solid debut). His MLB debut came against the Pirates as a pinch-runner for Ben Grieve. His first hit was off Danny Graves and his first home run against Gary Glover. His great year ended early when Brad Hennessey drilled him in the left hand on September 10. Baseball America rated him as the #3 prospect in the Chicago system.
In 2006, Ronny became the youngest Opening Day shortstop for Chicago since Shawon Dunston in 1986. Cedeno hit .245/.271/.339 as the regular Cub shortstop with only 17 walks to 109 strikeouts. His OPS+ was a measly 54. He was just 8-for-16 in steal attempts. He fielded .956, below league average, and his range factor was also below average. That was it for his starting job as Ryan Theriot would take over the next year.
Ronny only played 38 games for the 2007 Chicago Cubs, hitting .203/.231/.292; he spent most of the year in Iowa, where he batted .359/.432/.537 with 10 homers and 52 runs in 75 games. Had he qualified, he would have led the Pacific Coast League in average.
He was then traded to the Seattle Mariners with Garrett Olson for Aaron Heilman. For the 2009 Mariners, Cedeno only batted .167/.213/.290 as the backup to Yuniesky Betancourt at short. He was traded again, this time with Brett Lorin, Aaron Pribanic, Jeff Clement and Nathan Adcock to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Ian Snell and Jack Wilson.
He made his second career Opening Day start in 2010 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. For much of the early going, he hit 9th in the order, as manager John Russell decided to bat the pitchers 8th. He was the starting shortstop for the entire season, playing 139 games with a batting line of .256/.293/.382; his 29 doubles were a personal best. He kept the job in 2011 and got into another 128 games, this time hitting .249/.297/.339. While he was fine on the defensive side of the ledger, his OPS+ of 76 was less desirable, caused as it was by a very low on-base percentage. The Pirates decided to try someone else (Clint Barmes, whose career OBP of .302 was not significantly better) in 2012 and did not make much of an attempt to retain Cedeno's services after the season. On January 6, 2012, he signed as a free agent with the New York Mets, where he would have a chance to take over at SS for Jose Reyes, who had left as a free agent a few weeks earlier.
Cedeno ended up being a back-up with the Mets in 2012, as young Ruben Tejada established himself as the team's everyday shortstop. Cedeni split time almost equally between second base and shortstop, hitting .259 with 4 homers and 22 RBI in 166 at-bats. After the season, he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, a team facing concerns over the health of nominal starting shortstop Rafael Furcal and the ability of his back-up, Pete Kozma, to play regularly in the major leagues. However, even though Furcal's health remained a concerm, Cedeno was released at the end of spring training, but he landed on his feet, immediately signing with the Houston Astros, who gave him a chance to share the starting shortstop job with young Marwin Gonzalez. He started on Opening Day, March 31st, against the Texas Rangers in Houston's first game as an American League team and went 1 for 3 with a run scored. However, his stay with the Astros only lasted 51 games, during which he hit .220, before being designated for assignment on July 21st, alongside another veteran, 1B Carlos Pena.