MILWAUKEE -- One of the earliest decisions the Pirates will have to make this offseason will concern contract options and which ones -- if any -- the club wants to pick up. Four players on the Pirates' 40-man roster have club options for the 2012 season, though three of those players (Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder and Paul Maholm) are unlikely to have theirs exercised.
Shortstop Ronny Cedeno could be the exception.
Cedeno said the organization has not yet informed him of the decision it intends to make. The Pirates hold a $3 million club option on Cedeno, who would get a $200,000 buyout if that option is not picked up.
The Pirates don't have an obvious candidate to take over at short, and that could push the club to retain Cedeno since the cost is relatively reasonable. However, there have always been questions about how high a ceiling Cedeno really has and whether focus issues will keep him from ever getting near it.
Cedeno, who joined the club as part of a 2009 Trade Deadline deal, said that if the choice were up to him, he would like to stay.
"I feel good here. I feel like I really care about being here," Cedeno said. "If they want to keep me here, I would love to be here. I'm trying to finish strong, and I hope that they are very happy with my job this year."
Cedeno's batting average is on the lower end of all National League starting shortstops. His run production, power numbers and on-base percentage are, too. However, his defense, as measured through various defensive metrics, stands near the top of all NL shortstops.
"I feel good about my defense this year," Cedeno said. "Sometimes during the year I've made errors mentally, but I am mostly happy with how I played this year. I'm ready for every pitch, and that has helped me a lot. I have to keep going with that and stay focused."
In a weak free-agent market, it will be tough for the Pirates to find a defensive upgrade at the position. The club could always explore the trade market or put faith in the continued development of Chase d'Arnaud and Jordy Mercer, both of whom are internal options.