Phillies Sign Ronny Cedeno; Still Interested in Adding Depth

Yesterday, the Phillies signed utility infielder Ronny Cedeno to a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league camp. Cedeno will turn 31 on February 2 and will be entering his tenth season as a big leaguer. While he’s not much with the bat as his career .281 wOBA indicates, he has the ability to play at second base and shortstop and can fill in at third base and in the outfield corners in a pinch.

Cedeno will be in the mix for a bench job along with Freddy Galvis, Reid Brignac, and Andres Blanco. The glut of back-up veteran infielders could mean the Phillies prefer to have Galvis start the season in Triple-A to get regular at-bats, rather than getting one at-bat every other game as the last man on the bench.

Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are still looking to make some more depth signings. Specifically, Salisbury names pitchers Chad Gaudin and Ryan Madson, and first baseman Lyle Overbay. Let’s start with Overbay, who turns 37 on January 28. While the Phillies have a handful of lefties in the starting lineup, their bench is lacking a left-handed hitter. With Kevin Frandsen, one of the utility infielders, Cesar Hernandez, Darin Ruf, and John Mayberry already on the bench, it will be tough for the Phillies to make enough space on the roster for a left-handed bat unless they decide to break camp with an 11-man pitching staff, which seems unlikely.

Overbay got regular time with the Yankees last season filling in for the injured Mark Teixeira at first base. In 486 plate appearances, he posted a .303 wOBA while averaging three strikeouts for every one walk. Overbay also has a hefty platoon split, posting a .748 OPS against right-handers last season compared to .516 against lefties. While this is less of a big deal for a bench player as opposed to a regular, manager Ryne Sandberg would still be pressed to strategically deploy Overbay correctly.

Gaudin will be 31 years old in about two months and is coming off of a bounce-back year with the Giants. They started out using him in the bullpen, where he posted a 2.05 ERA in 30 and two-thirds innings of work. At the beginning of June, the Giants moved him into the rotation and he turned out to be quite useful. He had the odd blowup but overall posted a 3.53 ERA in 66 and one-third innings over 12 starts. His results weren’t terribly fluky beyond a 77 percent strand rate, more than six percent above his career average. He also had a .278 BABIP, 27 points below his career average, but in the span of 98 innings — divvied up one-third into the bullpen and two-thirds as a starter — it’s not unbelievable.

Gaudin would make a nice depth signing for the Phillies, who lack it in the rotation. Currently, there are six starters, three of which have guaranteed spots: Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Kyle Kendrick. The final two spots will go to Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Roberto Hernandez (formerly known as Fausto Carmona), and Jonathan Pettibone, depending on who performs the best in spring training. Throwing Gaudin into the mix, especially if he can be had on a non-guaranteed deal, can only be a good thing.

Finally, there’s our old friend Ryan Madson. Once a stalwart of the Phillies’ bullpen, Madson has had trouble staying healthy ever since he became a free agent after the 2011 season. He signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Reds for the 2012 season, but he tore a ligament in his right elbow in spring training and missed the entire season. He then signed with the Angels on a one-year deal worth $3.5 million guaranteed with another $3.5 million in bonuses and incentives, which he never ended up earning because he had trouble bouncing back from Tommy John surgery.

If you look at Madson’s Baseball Reference page, it ends at 2011. He has thrown one inning in professional baseball since working a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the ninth in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals. He threw one inning with the Angels’ Single-A affiliate in Inland Empire and found himself back on the shelf.

Obviously, Madson would only require a Minor League deal with an invitation to spring training, but the Phillies don’t need him. Their bullpen is good and deep enough as it is. There is no need to add an aging, injury-prone veteran into the mix, even if it wouldn’t cost the Phillies anything. Any playing time he would get in spring training would be at the expense of a younger player who would benefit more from the opportunity to audition.

The Phillies already have sent out spring training invitations to 17 players: seven pitchers, two catchers, four infielders, and four outfielders. They’ll have a very active spring training and should be done adding players for the most part. There really aren’t any players left that would both make a positive impact and would not require a multi-year deal or cost a draft pick (the Phillies’ first-round pick is protected, but they’d have to relinquish their second-round pick). As a result, the next month-plus should be quiet for the Phillies.

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  1. TomG

    January 14, 2014 08:54 AM

    I’d take a flyer on Madson before Gaudin only because Madson, unlike Gaudin, has a nearly nonexistent BCQ*, a stat that has bitten the Phillies in the ass over the past two seasons, what with Durbin (2013) and Qualls (2012).

    *Bad Chad Quotient, a stat arrived at by dividing a player’s given name and surname by his surname; if what’s leftover is “Chad”, then you’re talking a +BCQ or “positive Bad Chad Quotient”, which is to be avoided at all costs. E.g., Chad Qualls divided by Qualls = Chad. That there is a red flag BCQ. Whereas Ryan Madson divided by Madson = Ryan. And when has anything ever gone wrong for the Phillies with a guy named Ryan?

    (BCQ is my own intellectual property and may be used with permission or by piracy because, come on, what recourse would I have were someone to use it illegally?)

  2. Avery

    January 14, 2014 09:43 AM

    Those in the know rely on hBCQ (hanging BCQ). It utilizes the adjusting multiplier h, which takes into account the likelihood of a manager to continue to go with a reliever who should clearly not be used any further in a given game or a given season. Charlie Manuel had an h multiplier in the double digits. Here’s hoping Ryne’s is <1.

  3. joecatz

    January 14, 2014 03:10 PM

    “While the Phillies have a handful of lefties in the starting lineup, their bench is lacking a left-handed hitter. With Kevin Frandsen, one of the utility infielders, Cesar Hernandez, Darin Ruf, and John Mayberry already on the bench, it will be tough for the Phillies to make enough space on the roster for a left-handed bat unless they decide to break camp with an 11-man pitching staff, which seems unlikely.”

    there is no world where Frandsen, Ruf AND Mayberry are all on the 25 man roster unless one of them is penciled in as a starter replacing an injured player.

  4. joecatz

    January 14, 2014 03:19 PM

    that may have come off a little harsh, but I don;t understand why the 11 man arguement keeps coming up.

    there are five bench spots.

    backup C
    backup IF who plays SS
    RH BAT
    LH BAT
    extra spot

    the catcher is nieves or marson or rupp
    the SS is Cedeno, Brignac, galvis or Blanco

    the RH bat is Ruf or mayberry
    the LH bat right now is hernandez
    the extra spot is Frandsen.

    If they sign Overbay, or a LH thumper, the guy who is out is likely hernandez.

    If mayberry makes the roster, Ruf goes to lehigh.

    Frandsen and hernandez are redundant.

    marlon Byrd can pull back up CF duty a la jayson Werth.

    basically the bench is a big cluster.

  5. Dante

    January 14, 2014 04:35 PM

    Basically if they got a LH bat who can handle CF (Tyler Colvin?), Mayberry and Frandsen can be gone. I think management overrates both of these guys’ bats.

  6. joecatz

    January 14, 2014 04:48 PM

    the name that scares (and in a way excites) the living daylights out of me thats being thrown around a little is Nyjer Morgan.

    he’s LH
    he plays a more than capable CF
    He showed newfound power in japan…

    basically everything the philles are looking for in a bench player…

    and literally everything they DON’T need in the clubhouse.

    that said, Morgan is still a guy with a 5.0 fWAR 2009 and a 3.6 fWAR 2011 under his belt…

  7. larry laskey

    January 14, 2014 07:39 PM

    we want tony plush!!!!!!!!

    at least he would be fun!!!!

  8. JM

    January 15, 2014 08:51 AM

    I think Cesar starts at AAA. Keeps him fresh for an early season injury call-up. As said prior, he is redundant. Ruf stays up for 1B, Mayberry stays on as 4th OF. Galvis plays every infield spot. And going out on a limb here, Ruf also had a reverse platoon split last year, so maybe RAJ doesn’t think he needs lefty power off the bench…

  9. JM

    January 15, 2014 08:53 AM

    Also, because of the juiced ball, I would count on Morgan’s increased powere being real almost as much as I believe Carmen Electra’s boobs are real….

  10. larry laskey

    January 16, 2014 06:41 AM

    wait…what?…they’re not real….oh well. btw it looks like plushdementals is going to cleveland…nyger posted on twitter.

  11. Just Bob

    January 17, 2014 09:51 AM

    Nieves, Frandsen, and now Mayberry have guaranteed deals and will be on the bench on Opening Day barring no injuries. That leaves 2 spots and an ill-conceived bench.

    Need another OF and someone who can play SS. Figure one will either be a switch-hitter or LH bat.

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