Free Agency Watch: Roger Cedeno

The Orioles have acquired Roger Cedeno as a minor league free agent. Cedeno, a former top prospect, will provide depth for the Orioles outfield after sitting out the 2006 season.

The latest minor league free agent acquisition is none other than former Met, Roger Cedeno. The switch hitting outfielder should add more depth to the outfield picture for the Orioles. Signed originally by the Dodgers in 1991, Cedeno has played for four different major league teams in fifteen professional seasons. Over his career, Cedeno has been packaged in deals with players such as Charles Johnson, Mitch Meluskey, Octavio Dotel and Chris Holt for players such as Derek Bell, Mike Hampton and Todd Hundley. In 1998, Cedeno was part of the three team deal in which the Orioles sent Armando Benintez to the Mets in return for catcher Charles Johnson. In 2004, the Mets traded him to the Cardinals for Chris Widger and Wilson Delgado. In addition, the Mets agreed to pay $9 million of the $10 million remaining on his contract, plus an additional $1 million to the Cardinals. Eight million dollars of Cedeno's remaining salary was converted to a bonus, which was deferred for two years at zero interest, then at 5% annually. Interestingly, this was a major piece in an effort begun by then Mets GM Jim Duquette to free up salary and bad contracts entered into by the previous GM, Steve Phillips.

A week after being traded to St. Louis, Cedeno re-injured his hamstring during a game and went on the 15 day disabled list. Since the Cardinals had no position players left to replace him, pitcher Jason Simontacchi pinch hit for him and stayed in the game to play left field for the last half inning of the game.

Cedeno has had a checkered past, serving a four game suspension in 2004 for allegedly spitting on umpire Rick Reed, a charge he vehemently denies. He has also been arrested twice, the latest for reckless driving. In 2002, he was cited for DUI but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Aside from his off field problems, Cedeno brings a career .273 batting average with him as well as a well deserved reputation as a speedster, stealing 213 bases in 9 plus major league seasons. His power is marginal for a corner outfielder, but he has displayed good on-base skills in the past. He can also fill in as a center-fielder in a pinch. At 32 years old, Cedeno will be returning to the diamond after sitting out the 2006 season.

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