Found August 20, 2012 on The Daily Stache:
PLAYERS: Daniel Murphy
TEAMS: New York Mets

When the Mets acquired Ronny Cedeño in the offseason, it was strictly in an effort to improve the defense. The Mets knew they were going to give a lot of reps at second base to Daniel Murphy, and they wanted someone with a solid glove behind him just in case Murphy proved incapable.

Before this season, Cedeño had not hit for an OPS over .700 in the major leagues since 2005. There was little reason to believe that he would contribute on offense in a significant way.

And yet, here we are. After Cedeño’s triple on Sunday against the Nationals, he’s hitting .287/.370/.459 for an .829 OPS. Sure, it’s only in 122 at-bats, but for a guy who has been an absolute zero at the plate in the past, that sample is sitll a very pleasant surprise.

Although Cedeño is 29 years old and probably due to regress from this season’s highs, his 2012 hasn’t been incredibly fluky. His .348 BABIP is up there, but it’s not otherworldly. More importantly, Cedeño has bumped his walk rate up to 10.7%. His previous MLB high was 7.6% in 2008. That kind of jump makes you wonder if Cedeño has really improved his approach at the plate after bouncing between the major and minor leagues for the past six years.

Cedeño is making a little more than $1 million this season, after which he’s a free agent. It would be great if the Mets could bring him back for an encore as a backup infielder, but he may have played himself into some other team’s starting lineup.

In fact, Cedeño’s age and skills compare quite favorably with a lot of the other middle infielder free agents-to-be. If you’ve enjoyed Cedeño’s wild 2012 as much as I have, you should make sure you enjoy it for the next month and a half. There’s a good chance he’ll be someone else’s pleasant surprise in 2013.

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