"We've still got two months left before we'll have to make a decision," general manager Neal Huntington said, noting the free-agent market doesn't open until after the World Series is over.â†µ
To me, the decision should be pretty clear. Cedeno's a really frustrating player, in that he isn't a great hitter and makes frequent mental mistakes. But the Pirates aren't going to be bidders for guys like Jimmy Rollins, and as Biertempfel points out, there isn't much available after that. Also, Cedeno will be relatively cheap next year, at only $3 million, and his improved defense this year should make him worth that.â†µ
The Pirates' best internal alternative, Chase D'Arnaud, hasn't really hit in the high minors and has had a fairly rocky first season in the bigs. And Brandon Wood plays worse defense than Cedeno, and his .216 average this year is a career high in his five major-league seasons. I wouldn't be opposed to letting D'Arnaud and perhaps sure-handed Class AAA infielder Jordy Mercer compete with Cedeno for playing time next year, but I don't really see how the Pirates can justify letting Cedeno go completely, unless they make a surprising move for a shortstop from outside the organization.