Tag: Ronny Cedeno

5 Players New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson Will Let Go This Winter

Only the Mets can find a way to not keep a pitcher who wins, or contends for a Cy Young award. The New York Mets have a lot of roster spots to fill, and no money to fill them. Is the best strategy to spend all of their money on re-signing David Wright and R.A. Dickey, leaving all their holes unfilled?

I don’t think that is a wise choice. The Mets have a lot of players leaving via Free Agency, but some players who are under contract for 2013 may not be here as well. 

Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson is tasked with changing the makeup of this team, and it starts with the departure of the Knuckballer, who had one of the best seasons in franchise history.

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Phantom Double Play: Umpires Get it Right in Reds-Pirates Game

Umpire Lance Barrett worked his first MLB regular season game in 2010, joining the likes of fellow umps Vic Carapazza, Cory Blaser, John Tumpane, Alan Porter, Mark Ripperger, Manny Gonzalez and David Rackley as the so-called Class of 2010, now into their second season of big league games.

Like all AAA call-up umpires, Barrett is trying to set himself apart so he can get a full-time job at the MLB level.

Sometimes, proving yourself to the MLB brass involves making a big-time call in a potentially confusing situation. Last season, the Class of 2009’s Dan Bellino won over many Umpire Ejection Fantasy Leaguers as well as MLB Supervisors with an ejection following a confident and correct obstruction call in Washington. Bellino was hired by MLB prior to the 2011 season.

Barrett’s Bellino moment may have come in Pittsburgh tonight. In the top of the fifth inning of the RedsPirates game, with one out, runners on first and second, and the possibility of an infield fly fresh in all of our minds, Reds batter Drew Stubbs lined a Jeff Locke fastball to Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno.

While Cedeno fielded the ball on a short-hop, baserunner R2 (and pitcher by trade) Edinson Volquez, mistakingly believing the ball had been caught, stepped back onto second base as Cedeno threw to second baseman Neil Walker. Walker caught the ball and stepped on the second base bag, resulting in an out call from Barrett.

Walker subsequently tagged Volquez, who was standing on second base. This resulted in a safe call from Barrett.

Fairly straightforward: R1 Brandon Phillips was forced out on the tag of second base, which took the force off of R2 Volquez, who now legally and safely occupied second base. Batter Stubbs safely arrived at first base. One out, two on.

Not so fast… Phillips, as confused as anyone, and perhaps adding to the confusion himself, began running frantically between first and second base, drawing a throw from Walker. The bewildered Pirates infield quickly trapped the already-retired R1 Phillips in a rundown between first and second before unnecessarily tagging out Phillips for a second time.

Either way, Barrett once again gave the out call so there would be no confusion this time. Unfortunately, there was confusion – lots of it, for everyone except perhaps Barrett, crew chief Mike Winters, and umpires Mike Everitt and Chris Guccione… or maybe for them as well.

For you see, the umpires determined that Phillips was out, as expected. Batter Drew Stubbs would be placed on first base, also as expected. But Volquez, who had taken off for third base in the pandemonium which ensued while Phillips was in a rundown between first and second, was sent back to second base.

To understand why Barrett, Winters and the other umpires ruled the way they did requires an analysis of MLB Rules 7.09(e) and 9.01(c).

Rule 7.09(e) states, in part, it is interference when “any batter or runner who has just been put out, or any runner who has just scored, hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner.” Rule 7.09(e) Comment additionally states, “If the batter or a runner continues to advance after he has been put out, he shall not by that act alone be considered as confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders.”

Rule 9.01(c), as all umpires know, is the so-called elastic clause, which gives an umpire the “authority to rule on any point not specifically covered in these rules.”

Putting the two together allows for an explanation of why the umpires ruled the way they did. Phillips’ post-put out actions were not enough on their own to be considered interference. This is clearly specified in Rule 7.09(e) Comment. However, the Phillips rundown clearly did confuse the fielders and allow Volquez to advance toward third base.

In the end, Winters correctly invoked Rule 9.01(c) to deliver a fair and just judgment: Phillips was out, Stubbs was safe at first, and Volquez would also be ruled safe, but fairly returned to second base.

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Who Woke up the Pirates Bats?

Who woke up the Pirates offense after the all-star break? Whoever it was, what took you so long? The Pirates entered the break with pretty much the worse offense in baseball. It looked like it would be another long and dreadful summer, but the Bucs have come out swinging the sticks to begin the second half of the season.

So far, in six games after the all-star break, the Pirates have scored 50 runs on 77 hits, going 4-2 in that span. That averages out to a major league best 8.3 runs per game and 12.8 hits per game. Looking just at the wins after the break, the Pirates are averaging 11.75 runs and 16.25 hits. While I’m not suggesting we are looking at the 1927 Yankees, it has been a nice change of pace from what we’ve been used to seeing from the Pirates bats of late.

What’s the reason for the hot streak? I don’t want to hear that they have been playing bad teams. They have, but those same two bad teams (Houston and Milwaukee) have owned the Pirates up to this point of the season.

The main reason for the success is the approach. We haven’t seen hitters chasing many balls out of the zone. They’ve been waiting for good pitches and when they get them, they are putting good swings on the ball. Another thing I like is that the Pirates have been more aggressive early in the count. They haven’t been digging themselves into an 0-2 hole every at bat. They’ve been jumping on fastballs early, which is a good approach to have for a young team.

Even more impressive is the fact that the Pirates have been hitting well, without the services of Andrew McCutchen, who has missed the last three games nursing a shoulder injury.

Let’s take a look at some numbers through the six games after the all-star break.

McCutchen- 4-12 (.333), 3 RBI’s before he got hurt.

Jose Tabata- 10-27 (.370), 6 RBI’s.

Neil Walker- 14-26 (.538), 7 RBI’s.

Garrett Jones- 6-24 (.250), 1 HR, 5 RBI’s.

Pedro Alvarez- 10-24 (.417), 4 HR’s, 10 RBI’s.

Lastings Milledge- 9-24 (.375), 4 RBI’s.

Ronny Cedeno- 10-24 (.417), 2 RBI’s.

Delwyn Young- 5-7 (.714), 1 HR, 6 RBI’s.

As you can see, everyone other than the catcher platoon of Eric Kratz and Ryan Doumit (combined .192) are hitting well coming out of the break. Not only that, but they are driving in runs and hitting for power. The Bucs have combined for 29 extra base hits in the six games, something that has bee a huge problem all season.

I’m not suggesting that this torrid streak will continue, but it gives you a glimpse at what the Pirates could be capable of. Two things stick out at me. One is the fact that Lastings Milledge is playing everyday. Having a guy hitting a respectable .285 in the middle of the lineup is a major upgrade over a platoon with Ryan Church (currently hitting .190).

The other thing is that the rookies are starting to become legit major league ball players. They’ve made the lineup deeper and more effective. It was just 14 games ago that Alvarez was hitting .065. He has quietly got the average up to .259 with seven HR’s and 20 RBI’s in just 29 games.

Tabata looks like he is becoming a guy that will be a fixture in left field. He’s hitting .266 and has a great approach and a knack for getting on base.

Walker’s bat has been the biggest surprise for me, hitting .319. If the youngsters can keep getting on base and coming up with big hits, the rest of the lineup will prosper. All three of the rookies should see their numbers go up during the final few months of the season.

They still have a few holes, but at least for a few game stretch, we may have seen a glimpse of what could be a productive Pirates offense in the future. If they’ve done anything this last week, they saved John Russell’s job for the near future.


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Time For Real Pittsburgh Pirates Optimism?

There hasn’t been this much optimism in Pittsburgh about the Pirates since the early 1990’s.  Since then the Pirates have been under the Sid Bream Curse.  Now, it seems like everyone is drinking the Bucco Punch hoping the Pirates will become a better ball club.  Even though the Buccos are 11 games under .500; Andrew McCutchen is playing great baseball, Neil Walker looks like he belongs, and Brad Lincoln is making his Major League debut against the Nationals on Wednesday.  It looks like the Pirates finally have direction and are on their way to respectability.

The best part about this optimism is that it might actually be warranted this time.  Not only are some of the young guns already learning the ropes at the Major League level; it looks like a few more might be on the way soon.  The Pirates have Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata on the brink of being called up and they just drafted Jameson Taillon.  Taillon a 6’7″ flame thrower could finally be the ace the Pirates are looking for.  The Pirates have had so many disappointments with Kris Benson, Brian Bullington, Oliver Perez, etc. that this pick is crucial to the development of the franchise.  Especially when “A-Rod Light” was taken by the Orioles with the very next pick.

Sure, more has to be done.  Nothing signifies the Pirates woes of the past 17 years more than having their highest paid, non-pitching, player (Aki Iwamura) be a pinch hitter.  Not only is it sad that their highest paid player is a pinch hitter; it is sad their highest paid player only makes $5 Million.

Two main things need to be done to make the Pirates a legit Major League team.  First they need to keep their young players.  The cycle of being a “AAAA” team and just trading away players to the Red Sox and Yankees needs to stop.  If these players are the cornerstone players that ownership and management says they are; they need to be signed and kept in Pittsburgh.  Second, they need to spend money in free agency.  They need to add to their young talent.  It’s impossible to win in Major League Baseball without depth.  Players like Lastings Milledge should be at the bottom of the order and players like Ronny Cedeno should be bench players.  Players like Bobby Crosby and Jeff Clement wouldn’t even be on the roster of a competitive Major League team.

As soon as the first arbitration eligible player leaves town via free agency or trade for more “prospects” it could be the last heart break Pirates fans can endure.  Pirates fans have finally bought into this rebuilding process because the Pirates aren’t just bringing in Kenny Lofton, Reggie Sanders, and Matt Stairs so they can be show cased and traded at the deadline for single-A prospects that will never pan out.  Hopefully the Pirates are now in the process of building something special.


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