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Roster preview: Xavier Cedeno

Feb 8, 2014, 5:02 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Age on Opening Day 2014: 27

How acquired: Selected off waivers from Houston Astros, April 2013

2014 salary: N/A

2013 stats: 16 G, 12.1 IP, 15 H, 12 R, 9 ER, 8 BB, 9 K, 1.865 WHIP, 6.57 ERA, 4.02 FIP, 0.0 WAR

2014 storyline: Xavier Cedeno enters 2014 with a chance to make the roster in spring, but it’s unlikely we’ll see him in Washington on Opening Day. His numbers in D.C. last season were solid (1.50 ERA in 11 appearances) and he is a lefty. However, right now there is just too much competition for the final spots in the Nationals’ bullpen.

Cedeno will likely head to Syracuse and be stowed away as an insurance policy. Because he is a left-hander, though, it’s probable that we’ll see him up at some point. It will be up to Cedeno to perform well in Syracuse to make the case for a call-up, but beyond Jerry Blevins the Nationals are still lacking lefty relievers. And even if Ross Detwiler finds himself in the bullpen, he’s probably better suited for long relief. Cedeno had a strong audition in his brief time with the Nats last year, we’ll see if he can carry it over and play his way into a significant bullpen role.

Best-case scenario: The best-case scenario for Cedeno would be making the roster out of spring training as the second lefty behind Blevins. Right now he figures to be in a battle for the final two spots with a large group of guys. If he does make the team, and then pitches well for the Nationals, it’s possible he could end up making upwards of 40 or 50 appearances. If he could contribute that much with an ERA in the low-3.00s, he’d give the Nats just about all they can ask for.

Worst-case scenario: Cedeno obviously hopes to be in Washington come late March, but if he pitches poorly in spring he’ll probably begin the year in Syracuse. Given he’s under team control through 2018, it’s unlikely the Nationals would let him go even if he has a bad year. He’s still a valuable asset to stash in Triple-A. It could, however, bump him far down the depth chart and leave his future chances to pitch in Washington in doubt.

Most-likely scenario: Cedeno’s most likely going to start the season in Syracuse and be up by June because of another reliever’s injury. As long as he pitches decently in spring and in Triple-A if he gets there, he’ll be a solid option for the Nats when they need reinforcements. A conservative estimate would put Cedeno at 25-30 appearances with an ERA just south of 4.00.

  1. David Proctor - Feb 8, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    Cedeno career against lefties: .231/.320/.308, .628 OPS
    Cedno career against righties: .356/.427/.552, .979 OPS

    As long as he NEVER EVER EVER faces a righty, he should be ok.

  2. Doc - Feb 8, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    Who’s his lefty competition? Bevins is secure, but what other lefties in the BP?

    Det, Solis?

    See what ST brings, but I’m guessing that Solis will step up to the rubber, and show MLB stuff.

    • David Proctor - Feb 8, 2014 at 5:34 PM

      Solis hasn’t pitched above A-ball. I’m not sure I see a way for him to make the team out of Spring Training. Maybe later.

  3. realdealnats - Feb 8, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    I know I digress but:

    What is everyone’s feeling about backup catching? Is anybody still out there who could do our staff solid if Ramos goes down?

    • Theophilus T.S. - Feb 8, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      No FAs The Nats have already cornered the market on bullpen fodder. Lobaton is the logical target and he will fall into the Nats’ hands if somebody doesn’t make the Rays a better off by Opening Day. Don’t know whether he can cover the 5-hole but given the alternatives I don’t think it matters much.

    • Doc - Feb 8, 2014 at 10:37 PM

      His name is Sandy Leon, and according to Lucroy, BP coach and former C, he’s the best defensive catcher in the system—including Ramoose!

      Leon is getting some age on him, and it’s time to find out if he’s a suspect or prospect.

      He also just had a good hitting season in the VWL. Lobaton has very little to offer except previous experience.

  4. Theophilus T.S. - Feb 8, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    I don’t get the negativity about Cedeno . Astros waived him because they thought he hadn’t recovered from injury. In Syracuse he was exceptional, which carried over into his (very brief) time w/ the Nats. Abad and Kroll were the second comings of Randy Myers (at least) for a couple weeks. Why does Cedeno deserve any less? He’ young, cheap, throws strikes. I put him in my bullpen when camp starts, until he shows he can’t get hitters out.

    • David Proctor - Feb 8, 2014 at 7:56 PM

      I don’t disagree, but he needs to be managed very carefully. 1 hitter only, unless it’s like a blowout or something.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Feb 8, 2014 at 8:55 PM

        I hope you don’t mean that, literally. Until he throw to two hitters, or three, you don’t know whether he can dispose of more than one — until you need him to.

      • David Proctor - Feb 9, 2014 at 12:25 AM

        I just mean that he should never throw to righties.

    • dgourds - Feb 9, 2014 at 2:10 AM

      good post. But what was his injury with theAstros? I think you are right about giving him a fair shot in ST. He did have a good 2013 in our organization. But his previous stats were … eh. I guess he kind of falls into Roark’s category of we need to see more of him. Maybe he has figured it out and can be our sought after lefty specialist.

  5. habs3 - Feb 9, 2014 at 8:17 AM

    What Blevins such a lock to win a job? Did we guarantee him a job as part of the trade? Mr. Hughes why not make Cedeno a lock? You loose credibility with some of comments.

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