When the St. Louis Cardinals starting shortstop Rafael Furcal went down to an elbow injury for the season, it might have appeared that Ronny Cedeno was in the mix to get more playing time. That is not what happened. Instead the Cardinals released Cedeno and gave the full time job to Pete Kozma. Mike Matheny says that they were trying to do the best thing for both the team and Cedeno. While it might not seem like it, they were successful.
The ironic thing is that Cedeno was signed originally to be an insurance policy in case something happened to Furcal. Yet, when the injury took Furcal for the season the job instead went to the younger Kozma. It is surprising but if you look closely it does make sense from the Cardinals standpoint.
Kozma has a few things going for him that make it clear why he got the job. First of all he is younger and still has prime potential in him. Secondly his numbers clearly show that he is the better hitter between the two of them. Lastly, he is a product of the Cardinals system. They signed him in the first round of the 2007 amateur draft. Furcal still has years left but it is possible that Kozma might get a serious look for the permanent full time job if he shows that he can handle it this season.
For Cedeno, it surely stings but this is actually better than if they would have waited to tell him on March 30th. This way Cedeno can still go out and find another team that needs a good defensive infielder with a good bit of experience. Cedeno can hit fairly well but his .247 career average puts him well behind the potential of Kozma. With the age difference and the fact of Kozma being home-grown, it becomes academic. The Cardinals did the right thing.