Rockies To Sign Michael Cuddyer

Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd continued a busy offseason today by making his biggest move yet. The Rockies have agreed to sign Michael Cuddyer to a three-year, $31.5MM deal.

Michael Cuddyer

Cuddyer, 32, hit 20 homers and posted a .284/.346/.459 line in 584 plate appearances for the Twins this past season. After 11 seasons in Minnesota, the Excel Sports Management client has a career line of .272/.343/.451. Cuddyer spent considerable time at three positions in 2011: right field, first base and second base. He has also played third base and left field at the Major League level, so Rockies manager Jim Tracy will have lots of places to pencil his new player into the lineup. 

This isn't the beginning of a Marlins or Angels-like free agent shopping spree for O'Dowd. The Rockies cleared payroll for Cuddyer earlier this month, sending Huston Street and Ian Stewart to National League rivals in trades.

One suitor for Carlos Beltran likely disappears now that the Rockies have Cuddyer. As Troy Renck of the Denver Post points out, Seth Smith's role becomes uncertain with the addition of Cuddyer. He would become a bench bat or a trade candidate if the Rockies use Cuddyer in the outfield.

The Twins, who signed Josh Willingham for $21MM over three years this week, will obtain two top draft picks for losing Cuddyer, since they offered the Type A free agent arbitration. However, it will not cost the Rockies a draft pick to sign Cuddyer under modified rules for ranked free agents

Cuddyer ranked 11th on MLBTR's list of the offseason's top free agents. When Tim Dierkes looked at Cuddyer's free agent stock in September, he anticipated that his market would be in the three-year, $30MM range.

Mark Buehrle, Jonathan Papelbon, Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes and C.J. Wilson are the only free agents to sign for more guaranteed money this offseason. This is first time O'Dowd has lured a major free agent to Colorado since 2000, as Renck notes and our Transaction Tracker confirms (minimum $10MM deal).

Jon Heyman of first reported the agreement and the terms (Twitter links). Renck reported growing momentum toward a deal Thursday night. Photo courtesy Icon SMI.

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2 Comments on "Rockies To Sign Michael Cuddyer"

3 years 8 months ago

Too much for who Cuddyer is as a player.

John Gregory
3 years 8 months ago

there is way more to this game then numbers

I think we all (or almost all) realize this. 

The numbers are the results.  The other stuff that gets talked about, doing things the right way and so forth, are the inputs that are combined with one’s natural skills to obtain those results.  Someone successful enough to play college ball and to then coach is certainly better qualified to discuss how these ingredients are blended, to obtain the wanted results, than I am.

The reaction you see is when the numbers are compared, and then someone wants to bring up the intangibles and count them again like they are in addition to the numbers.

I’m open to the idea that the intangibles could rub off on teammates or have other effects, but I don’t know of anyone who has demonstrated that it turns into results on a consistent basis.  And to talk about the leadership someone brings, and how it feeds an entire team, on an outfit like the 2011 Twins, is a demonstration of the opposite: that if the intangibles do matter, they pale in comparison to the difference in talent/results between for instance a Joe Mauer and a Drew Butera at catcher, or a Justin Morneau and a Michael Cuddyer at first base.

It’s possible to lose more than 99 games, but seriously, how can losing Cuddyer’s leadership, versus the unknown (to you and me) leadership Willingham brings, possibly be even worth talking about after a year like 2011?