Published on December 10th, 2011 | by Thompson0
Twins Need Decision from Cuddyer
There hasn’t been much speculation out there on the blogosphere about Michael Cuddyer, but Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500 Radio thinks the Cardinals could be a good fit for Cuddyer with Albert Pujols moving to Anaheim. And Mackey is absolutely right, but there’s been nothing reported to date about the Cardinals contacting Cuddyer.
I find this very interesting since the Cardinals need help in the outfield and, most notably, at first base. Cuddyer would be a great fit in St. Louis, wouldn’t have to move far, and would be hitting in a lineup featuring Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman. Berkman is expected to move to first, but I doubt it would be full-time. The Cardinals have a ton of money to spend with Albert Pujols leaving for Anaheim, so matching the Twins’ 3 year deal worth $25 million would be no problem. In fact, the Cardinals may not have to match it. Mackey writes that if Cuddyer moves, “money will not be the driving factor.”
Cuddyer is the ultimate team-first guy, but he’s not showing it. This 3 year offer has been on the table nearly 4 days now, and there’s been no similar offer, though the Rockies have contemplated offering 3 years. It seems Cuddyer’s big payday left when the Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon. So instead of taking the best offer on the table from the only team he’s ever played for, Cuddyer is waiting for something better to come along…something that may never come.
Cuddyer is worried about the negativity surrounding the Twins after losing 99 games last season, and doesn’t think the Twins can contend even with the depth added by Jamey Carroll and Ryan Doumit. I’ve expected Cuddyer to leave all offseason, but I didn’t think he’d consider leaving for less money or fewer years. If that is the case, I’ll get my Christmas wish – Josh Willingham and Jason Kubel. I’ve been Jonesin’ for a case of the Willinghams for years, and I sincerely think Jason Kubel is a better signing given his age and the amount he’s due to earn.
I didn’t think the Twins would get away with an offer of $8 million a year for Cuddyer, so that’s a pleasant surprise, but Terry Ryan can’t let Cuddyer drag this out and miss out on Willingham or Kubel or both. I know Michael just had twins, and congratulations again, but this isn’t that difficult a decision. It’s the best deal on the table, Mike. Take it.
If I were Terry Ryan I’d make a move that forces Cuddyer to second guess his notion that the Twins won’t be contending in 2012. I know I’ve been harping on this, but Hisashi Iwakuma is still out there, and the one thing I know Cuddyer would like to see is depth in the rotation and bullpen, and a deal for Iwakuma boosts both. Trading for a closer wouldn’t be a bad move, either, but now that the Nationals are set on keeping Drew Storen and Huston Street has already been traded, available closers at affordable prices are hard to come by. Andrew Bailey from Oakland or Brandon League from Seattle are possible trade candidates, but the asking price may be high for both.
If Cuddyer is still unhappy even after Terry Ryan makes one of these moves, let him leave. It’s as simple as that. You have to make one of the moves no matter what, so why not do it at a time that could sway Cuddyer’s decision? And if he’s still not convinced, start working on Josh Willingham and Jason Kubel. Cuddyer back at just $8 million a year is a good deal, but if he doesn’t want to be in Minnesota, I don’t want him.
“When the tough get goin’, the goin’ get tough.” – Reub Baker, Major League II