Mets get Widger, Delgado

Updated: April 3, 2004, 10:23 PM ET
Associated Press

JUPITER, Fla. -- The New York Mets traded outfielder Roger Cedeno to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday for backup catcher Chris Widger and infielder Wilson Delgado.

The speedy Cedeno was a huge disappointment after signing an $18 million, four-year contract with the Mets before the 2002 season. The Cardinals also get cash considerations in the deal.

"It was the best thing for everybody involved. Roger gets a fresh start and we can move on," Mets general manager Jim Duquette said.

Widger and Delgado are expected to start the season in the minors, although Widger could refuse the assignment and ask for his release.

Cedeno is expected to join the Cardinals on Sunday. The 29-year-old switch-hitter is a .275 career hitter with 37 home runs, 243 RBIs and 208 stolen bases. He's also played for Los Angeles (1995-98), Houston (2000) and Detroit (2001).

During his first stint with the Mets, Cedeno stole 66 bases and batted .313 in 1999. He hit .293 with 55 steals for the Tigers in 2001.

But he struggled with subpar defense and poor instincts as the Mets finished last in the NL East the past two years.

Delgado, 31, is a career .238 hitter with five teams.

Widger, 32, has played more than seven years in the majors with four teams, hitting .242 with 50 homers and 202 RBIs.

The trade means Cody McKay will probably be the Cardinals' backup catcher and corner infielder. His father, Dave, is the team's first base coach. Dave McKay played for eight seasons in the majors.

Cody McKay is a left-handed hitter, in short supply on the Cardinals. He has only three major league at-bats.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press