With the Twins fluctuating between winning streaks and losing streaks and not making up much ground over the last two weeks, there have been rumbling about possible moves around the trade deadline in July. One of the names that pops up is right fielder, Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer is in the last year of his contract that he signed back in 2008.
The average, everyday Twins fan would think it’s a no brainer that we re-sign Cuddyer and have him be our right fielder for a few more years. I don’t think it’s as clear cut as it may appear. You have to remember that he is getting paid 10.5 million dollars this year and is hitting .286 with 10 home runs and 30 runs batted in. Just two years ago, the last year at the Metrodome, he hit a career high 32 home runs.
So the Twins have a tough decision on their hands as Cuddyer just might be the most well liked Twin not named Joe Mauer, so letting him walk via Free Agency or trading him could put a sour taste in the fans mouth. If I am the Twins, I would sit down as a collective group and really decide what they want to do with Cuddyer and how they see the future outfield panning out. The toughest thing is, the Twins have a few other guys who are either in Double-A or Triple-A that could fill Cuddyers spot, so it makes that tough on the Twins.
If I am GM Bill Smith, I would look to trade Cuddyer come late July. There will more than likely be a contender or two that are looking for a hitter that can give them an offensive boost. Not to mention he can also fill in at first base as well. If the Twins decide to go the trade route, I would ask for bullpen arms in return. I don’t expect the Twins to spend much this coming off-season, so I would look for them to acquire an arm or two.
The other route the Twins could go with Cuddyer is to give him a multi-year deal in the 3 year range. Maybe even if they re-sign him to make him our starting first baseman as the Twins can’t afford to play the “wait-and-see” game with Justin Morneau and his health at first base. That is a very interesting thought as when he filled in for Morneau last year, he really picked it up and did a great job filling in for him. If you do re-sign Cuddyer though, how much do you give him? Making 10.5 million this season, he likely won’t take much of a hometown discount. I would maybe start by offering him 8-9 million per year making that 3rd year a team option.
Whether it’s a trade, re-signing him, or letting him test the free agent mark, I’m sure glad that I’m not in Bill Smith’s shoes. It will be a very tough decision deciding the future of Michael Cuddyer as a Minnesota Twin.