PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — The Pirates announced Monday they have declined contract options for 2012 on shortstop Ronny Cedeno, left-handed starting pitcher Paul Maholm and catchers Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder.

All four will become free agents at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

“We just felt like our best course of action was to decline the options, try to keep the doors of communication open, see how the market plays out, see if we end up being their landing spot, see if they end up being our best target,” Pirates GM Neal Huntington said, according to the team’s official website. “If they head in a different direction, we wish them the best.”

Huntington said any and all options will be considered, including using these players in trades because of the weak free agent market at several positions.

“We’ve got to be willing to take some chances,” Huntington said. “We’ve got to be willing to make some tough financial decisions. We’ll see how it plays out this offseason, but we’re confident that we’ll end up with a good option.”

The following was each player’s club option cost for 2012:

  • Cedeno: $3 million
  • Snyder: $6.75 million
  • Doumit: $15.5 million over a two-year period
  • Maholm: $9.75 million

The losses leave the Pirates with immediate needs at shortstop and catcher.

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