Ronny Alexander Salazar Cedeño
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 180 lb.
- Debut April 23, 2005
- Final Game June 28, 2014
- Born February 2, 1983 in Puerto Cabello, Carabobo, Venezuela
Cedeño was signed by scout Alberto Rondon for the Chicago Cubs in August 1999 at 16. He debuted with the 2000 VSL Cubs, hitting .287/.370/.425. He had a strong year in 2001 with the AZL Cubs, batting .350/.398/.466 with 17 steals in 27 tries; promoted to the Lansing Lugnuts for 17 games, he hit .196/.257/.357. He led the 2001 Arizona League in average (by .007) and was second with 72 hits (2 behind Alejandro Cadena). He tied for the most putouts at shortstop (83) but also tied Andy Gonzalez for the most errors (22), losing All-Star honors to Gonzalez. Baseball America rated him the 5th best prospect in the AZL, right ahead of Johan Santana. Ronny struggled in 2002, split between Lansing (.213/.269/.295, 14 steals in 24 attempts in 98 games) and the Boise Hawks (.218/.275/.300 in 29 games). He moved up to the Daytona Cubs in 2003 but eked out a .211/.257/.295 batting line; the lone positive was his baserunning, as he was 19-for-25 in steals. In 2004, Cedeño improved to .279/.328/.401 with the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx but was only 10-for-20 in stealing. Cedeño led Southern League shortstops in both putouts (168) and fielding percentage (.963) in a good all-around campaign. Ronny split 2005 between the Iowa Cubs (.355/.403/.518 in 55 games, 11-for-14 in steals) and the majors (.300/.356/.375 in 41 games, a solid debut). His debut came against the Pirates as a pinch-runner for Ben Grieve. His first hit was off Danny Graves and his first home run against Gary Glover. His great year ended early when Brad Hennessey drilled him in the left hand on September 10. Baseball America rated him the 3rd best prospect in the Chicago system.
In 2006, Ronny became the youngest Opening Day shortstop for Chicago since Shawon Dunston in 1986. Cedeño hit .245/.271/.339 as the regular with only 17 walks to 109 strikeouts and 8 steals in 16 tries; his OPS+ was a measly 54. He fielded .956, below league average, and his range factor was also below average. Ryan Theriot took over in 2007, with Ronny only playing 38 games, hitting .203/.231/.292. He spent most of the year in Iowa, where he batted .359/.432/.537 with 10 homers and 52 runs scored in 75 games. Had he qualified, he would have won the Pacific Coast League batting title. Ronny hit .440/.481/.480 for the Tigres de Aragua in the 2007 Caribbean Series but did not make the event's All-Star team as Miguel Tejada was chosen.In the 2007-2008 Venezuelan Winter League, the 24-year-old helped Aragua win a title, but he did not remain with them for the 2008 Caribbean Series (which they won).
Ronny played 99 games for the Cubs in 2008, improving his batting line to .269/.328/.352 for a 75 OPS+, backing up Theriot at short and Mark DeRosa at second. He was traded to the Seattle Mariners, with Garrett Olson, for Aaron Heilman in January 2009. With Seattle, Cedeño only batted .167/.213/.290 as the backup to Yuniesky Betancourt at short. He was traded again, this time with Brett Lorin, Aaron Pribanic, Jeff Clement and Nathan Adcock, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Ian Snell and Jack Wilson. He made his second career Opening Day start in 2010 with the Bucs. For much of the early going, he hit 9th in the order, as manager John Russell decided to bat the pitchers 8th. He was the starting shortstop for the entire season, playing 139 games with a batting line of .256/.293/.382; his 29 doubles were a personal best. He kept the job in 2011 and got into another 128 games, this time hitting .249/.297/.339. While he was fine on the defensive side, his OPS+ of 76 was less desirable, caused by a very low on-base percentage. The Pirates decided to try someone else (Clint Barmes, whose career OBP of .302 was not significantly better) in 2012 and did not make much of an attempt to retain Cedeño's services.
On January 6, 2012, Cedeño signed as a free agent with the New York Mets, where he would have a chance to take over at shortstop for Jose Reyes. He ended up being a backup in 2012, as Ruben Tejada established himself as the everyday shortstop. Cedeño split time almost equally between second base and shortstop, hitting .259/.332/.410 with 4 homers and 22 RBI in 166 at-bats. After the season, he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, a team facing concerns over the health of nominal starting shortstop Rafael Furcal and the ability of his backup, Pete Kozma, to play regularly. Even though Furcal's health remained a concern, Cedeño was released at the end of camp, immediately signing with the Houston Astros, who gave him a chance to share the starting shortstop job with young Marwin Gonzalez. He started on Opening Day, March 31st, against the Texas Rangers in Houston's first game as an American League team and went 1-for-3 with a run scored. His stay with the Astros only lasted 51 games, during which he hit .220/.260/.298, before being designated for assignment on July 21st, alongside another veteran, Carlos Pena. He finished the season with the San Diego Padres and his major league career with 7 games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014.
He was not finished, though. He had a solid winter for the Navegantes del Magallanes (.284/.363/.375, 31 R in 54 G) and split the summer of 2015 between the San Francisco Giants' Sacramento River Cats (.261/.306/.367 in 61 G) and the Guerreros de Oaxaca (.217/.276/.333 in 20 G). He followed with a .267/.330/.371 winter, scoring 35 runs in 54 games for the Navegantes. He tied Alex Romero for 2nd in the league in runs, two behind Ildemaro Vargas.
Signing with Italy's Bologna club, he scored the winning run against T&A San Marino in the 2016 European Champions Cup on a Claudio Liverziani homer. Bologna went 3-1 and he hit .300/.364/.600, all three of his hits being doubles. He was 5th in the event in slugging (between Maik Ehmcke and Simon Gühring) and tied Ennio Retrosi for 2nd in doubles (2 behind Nick Urbanus. In the 2016 Italian Baseball League, he produced at a .368/.420/.552 clip with 27 runs and 25 RBI in 29 games. He lost the batting title by one point to Sebastiano Poma, led in slugging (.060 ahead of Paolino Ambrosino), was 9th in OBP (between Daniel Mayora and Carlos Colmenares), was 5th in runs, tied Osman Marval for 2nd with 46 hits, was 5th in RBI (between Jairo Ramos Gizzi and Giuseppe Mazzanti), tied for 2nd with 11 doubles (one behind Joe Mazzuca), tied Ambrosino for 2nd with 4 homers (one behind Mazzanti) and led with 69 total bases (5 more than Ambrosino). He helped Bologna make it to the 2016 Italian Series, where he tapered off (.240/.269/.400, 4 R, 4 RBI in 6 G) but Bologna still won the title. He won both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger at shortstop.
Cedeño's batting line for Magallanes in 2016-2017 was .312/.328/.451. He scored 31 runs in 59 games and still had speed to leg out 4 triples. He was 5th in the league in triples and close to the top 10 in average and runs. He reinforced the Águilas del Zulia for the 2017 Caribbean Series, going 9 for 19 in that event with two doubles and 4 RBI in 4 games. He scored the tying run in the 8th against the Tigres del Licey as Venezuela rallied to win. He was second in the Series in average (behind Iván DeJesús Jr.), tied for the most doubles, tied for 4th in RBI, was 5th in slugging and 4th in OPS (between Carlos Benitez and Chris Roberson). He did not make the All-Star team as David Vidal was picked at third base.
He did not return to summer ball for 2017 but remained sharp in the winter at .327/.380/.436 with 46 runs, 14 doubles, 32 RBI and 7 steals (without being caught) in 55 games in 2017-2018. He was 8th in average (between Herlis Rodriguez and Rafael Ortega), 2nd in runs (6 behind Jesús Valdez), tied for 2nd in doubles (behind Balbino Fuenmayor) and tied Omar Carrizales for 3rd in swipes.
In 2018-2019, he hit .308/.352/.442 for the Navegantes. He was 9th in the league in runs (32). He tailed off to .230/.298/.341 in 2019-2020.