Pirates manager Clint Hurdle benches Ronny Cedeno … again

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Ronny Cedeno has been benched by manager Clint Hurdle for the second time this season after the Pirates shortstop attempted to bunt with the bases loaded last night before eventually grounding into a double play.

Hurdle declined to specifically attach the benching to that plate appearance, but Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review notes that he grinned when asked about it and instead replied: “The manager picked a day off for Ronny. It’s a good day to regain focus.”

In between Cedeno’s benchings Hurdle also benched Andrew McCutchen for a lack of hustle last month. McCutchen is deserving of an All-Star spot, whereas Cedeno is hitting .232 with a .615 OPS for his sixth straight season with a sub-.700 mark.

Report: Cardinals to sign Paul Goldschmidt to five-year contract extension

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Extension season continues. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cardinals and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt are close to an agreement on a five-year extension. The value is believed to be around $130 million, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goldschmidt was set to become a free agent after the season.

The Cardinals acquired Goldschmidt, 31, from the Diamondbacks in December in exchange for Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Andy Young, and a 2019 competitive balance round B pick. The slugger is a six-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner. Goldschmidt owns a career .297/.398/.532 triple-slash line along with 209 home runs, 710 RBI, 709 runs scored, and 124 stolen bases. He is also well-regarded for his defense at first base. As a result, he has accumulated 40.3 Wins Above Replacement over eight seasons, according to Baseball Reference.

With Goldschmidt in place, the Cardinals are set at first base for the foreseeable future. Though Goldschmidt got off to a slow start last season, carrying an OPS barely above .700 into June, he recovered and finished with a .922 OPS. That two-month blip aside, there’s no reason to think Goldschmidt’s production is about to fall off anytime soon.