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Monday, March 10, 2008

Cubs Preview 3/10/08

Roster Spot #23- SS-Ronny Cedeno #5
Ht: 6'0'' Wgt:180 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Seriously..I have no fucking idea what I'm supposed to do

Alright, I'm going to be honest with you people. I originally said I was going to rank these backwards from worst to first, but really, I can't defend a stance that says Cedeno is actually better than two other baseball players on this roster. Or Anywhere. But, for whatever reason the Cubs organization still has a boner for this guy (unless we trade him for Roberts? Eh? Eh?), so he'll make the roster. Cedeno has had a fairly interesting rise out of nowhere and rapid fall from grace as a Chicago Cub. In 2005, we all heard about this amazing rookie shortstop who was tearing it up for the Iowa Cubs at a .355 avg, .403 obp, 6 hr, 48 rbi pace. At that time, the Cubs shorstop was Nomar Garciaparra so..oh...right, Nomar wasn't playing. Why was that again?

Oy, that'll do it.

After Nomar tore his laddies off trying to run out a double play, the Cubs were forced to look for options at shorstop. Neifi Perez got the first crack at the job, and rather than vent my rage toward Neifi, which would take many, many more articles, I'll just skip past his putrid numbers and discuss what happened as Neifi hit his .259, .229, .233 May, June, and July slump (or career average, whatever) and the fans began to clamor for his replacement, the young star rocking the Pacific Coast League (has anyone EVER explained why the IOWA Cubs are in the PACIFIC COAST League?). Cedeno was finally called up and tantalized the Cubs while pissing off Dusty Baker for being too young and possibly talented to be worthy of the love that Dusty bestowed upon Neifi, which lead to Neifi still playing in 154 (!) games to Ronny's 40.

Ronny's 2005: 40 games, 80 at bats, .300 avg, .356 obp, .375 slugging. 1 hr, 6 rbi.

In spring 2006 Ronny was given the starting job over Neifi by Dusty (with a lot, lot, lot of pressure from the Cubs front office no doubt) and Cubs fans had high hopes for their first legitimate shortstop since Shawon Dunston. Yes, all of our shorstops up until Ryan Theriot have sucked so badly that Shawon Dunston now looks like an actually major league ballplayer in retrospect. If you read that sentence without painful memories, you, sir, are most likely an alcoholic.

The 2006 season, as all Cub fans remember, turned into a shit fucking disaster after Derrek Lee went down in the team's 14th game and the Cubs floundered to 66-96, fired Dusty (there is good in all darkness, my sons) and Cedeno did his part to contribute to the world of suck. Cedeno's numbers in his first full season are as follows:

151 games, 534 at bats, .245 average, .271 obp, .339 slugging, 6 hrs, 41 rbi.

Cedeno was an atrocious hitter, with a lack of patience that resulted in 109 strikeouts vs only 17 walks. 17! But at least he was a good defensive shorstop?

Actually.... no. Cedeno managed to suck so badly at shorstop in making 23 errors that he was moved to second base, where he still managed to make 2 more errors, wrapping up with a solid 25 errors. For comparison, Ryan Theriot, considered to be an average quality fielding shorstop made only 11 errors last year playing shorstop, third, and second base.

By 2007 the idea of Cedeno starting was laughable to everyone in the Cubs organization, especially under new, no-nonsense (read: not an idiot. also read: not Dusty Baker) manager Lou Piniella, and yet Cedeno somehow still managed to make the team as the backup shorststop behind Cesar Izturis (forget about Cesar? you lucky bastard). After Cesar proved himself just as inept as Ronny and Lou skipped over Cedeno in the shorstop rotation and made Theriot the starter, Cesar found himself in Pittsburgh and Ronny found himself back in Iowa. Cedeno made a brief appearnce back with the club during the second half, playing the key roles of "live body" and "guy who runs for Daryle Ward".

Ronny's 2007:
38 games, 74 at bats, .203 avg., .231 obp, .392 slugging, 4 hrs, 13 rbis.

So you're probably wondering why he's still on the team for what looks to be a fourth consecutive season. Maybe, you say, he can run well and steal a few bases for a team that tends to lack speed outside of Soriano, Pie, Theriot, and hopefully Fukudome?

Well, Cedeno has managed to translate the 85 stolen bases of his minor league career into 11 stolen bases in the majors. He's also managed to be caught 9 times. So out of 20 major league steal attempts, Cedeno has been successful only on 55%. That's over half, so good, right? He's at least successful more often than not, even if its only marginal? Well, actually the major league average for stolen base percentage in 2007 was 74%. So Ronny's only 19% below average in that category, a marked improvement over his 100% below in every other.

So now we've established that Cedeno sucks at 1) Hitting 2) Getting on Base 3) Fielding 4) Baserunning

So what's left to prove that Cedeno has no place on a major league roster? His pure, unadulterated stupidity. During a game against the St. Louis Cardinals, with the Cubs down 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th, Cedeno enters the game as a pinch-runner. On a pitch to Jacque Jones, Cedeno tries to steal second base. Jones walks on the pitch, so Cedeno is automatically safe at 2nd, right? Wrong.

Cedeno overslides second base on his phantom steal and manages to get tagged out. On a walk. 2 out, Cubs lose.

So there you have it. Ronny Cedeno is not a major league baseball player. This spring he's hitting a whopping .190 with no homers and 1 rbi, and Lou is trying him in the outfield to give him the ability to suck at three different positions. What, it's not fair to use his spring numbers against him? Derrek Lee is hitting only .143 this spring? Right, well, when Ronny hits .317 with a .400 obp like Derrek did, he can take the spring off too.

I hate you Ronny.

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