Michael Cuddyer Rumors

West Notes: Upton, Colon, Bloomquist, Billingsley

Colorado is the epicenter of scouting activity this afternoon as Cole Hamels starts against the Rockies. The Angels, Dodgers, and Rangers are scouting the Phillie left-hander, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (Twitter links). The Tigers are on hand taking a look at Marco Scutaro, tweets Tracy Ringolsby of Root Sports.  Here's the rest of the news from the AL and NL West with the most recent up top:

NL West Links: Hernandez, Dodgers, Cuddyer, Huff

The 2011 amateur draft has officially produced its first Major Leaguer, as Trevor Bauer made his debut for the Diamondbacks tonight against the Braves.  The third overall pick from 2011 was shaky in his first start in the Show (two runs on five hits and three walks over four innings and 74 pitches) but Bauer escaped with a no-decision.

Here are some more items from the D'Backs and elsewhere in the NL West…

  • David Hernandez's two-year extension with the Diamondbacks is worth $3.5MM, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.  Hernandez received a $250K signing bonus, and the right-hander will earn $1.25MM in 2013 and $2MM in 2014.
  • The Dodgers' seven-year, $42MM deal with Cuban prospect Yasel Puig has stunned many international scouting directors, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America.  Puig's signing has caused a "huge disparity of opinion around the game," tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, who cites one scout that rated Puig as worth just a $500K contract.
  • Dodgers president Stan Kasten tells Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that the team is prepared to make "big" moves at the trade deadline and are willing to increase payroll.  Kasten said he would prefer to take on more salary if it meant the Dodgers wouldn't have to trade a promising minor leaguer.
  • The Rockies should try to deal Michael Cuddyer while he still has trade value, opines Fangraphs' Chris Cwik.  Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd recently said he isn't going to move Cuddyer, though other teams have called about the veteran outfielder.
  • Aubrey Huff told reporters (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) that he hasn't thought about retiring despite his difficult 2012 season.  The Giants veteran hasn't produced at the plate, battled an anxiety disorder and is currently on the DL after spraining his knee while celebrating Matt Cain's perfect game.
  • Billionaire Steve Cohen dropped out of the bidding to buy the Padres once the price reached $800MM, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter).  Cohen is a Mets minority owner and was one of the top contenders to buy the Dodgers.

Rockies Won’t Trade Gonzalez, Cuddyer

While there has been some speculation that the Rockies could consider moving outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, General Manager Dan O'Dowd says that the standout will be staying put in Colorado, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com

O'Dowd says that talk of the team putting the 26-year-old on the block started when Nationals GM Mike Rizzo inquired on him via phone.  The Rockies GM says that he told Rizzo that the outfielder wasn't available, and that was the end of it. 

O'Dowd added that he has had a great deal of calls on Michael Cuddyer but won't part with him either.  He expects to keep Dexter Fowler past the deadline as well but stopped short of calling him untouchable. 

"I can't say for certain [we're not trading him] but we put a lot higher value on him than someone looking to acquire him," the GM said.  Fowler has put it together since his demotion last season and is hitting .282/.377/.539 with ten homers this season.

Antony On Cuddyer, Kubel, Young, Nathan, Span

Twins assistant GM Rob Antony discussed the team's offseason moves, players who signed elsewhere over the winter, plans for 2012, and more in an interview with Jesse Lund of the Twinkie Town blog.  Here are some of the highlights…

  • Michael Cuddyer was the Twins' "number one priority all off-season" but moved on once it became clear that the team wouldn't be able to re-sign him.  Antony "always believed he wanted to be a Twin for his entire career" and thinks Cuddyer was "disappointed" to ultimately leave the team for Colorado.
  • Jason Kubel shared his concerns with Antony about how Target Field is a tough stadium for power hitters, and the assistant GM believes this was a factor in Kubel leaving the team.
  • The Twins dealt Delmon Young to the Tigers last season simply because the team put a priority on re-signing Cuddyer and Kubel, so they wanted to get some return for Young rather than possibly non-tender him after the season.
  • Joe Nathan didn't give the Twins a chance to match the $14.75MM contract he received from the Rangers.  Antony said there were no hard feelings about Nathan leaving, since the veteran closer was focused on playing for a contender.  We heard in November that Minnesota's best offer to Nathan was "a bit less" than Texas' offer.
  • The Nationals were "definitely interested" in Denard Span at the trade deadline last summer, but Antony doesn't "think we were ever close to doing anything."
  • Antony said that some internet rumors about players on the trade market often lead to exploratory conversations between GMs about said players.  "There are a lot of names that pop up where we do a lot of that same thing. 'Look, if you're looking to move this guy, he could be a fit over here. I don’t know what’s fact and what’s rumor, but if you are serious in trading a player we’d like to be kept in mind, we have some interest,' " Antony said.  He brought up this point in regards to a question about Martin Prado, which would seem to hint that the Twins and Braves perhaps had such a conversation about the utilityman.
  • Antony thinks Tsuyoshi Nishioka will give Alexi Casilla a strong battle for the starting second base job and that Nishioka "deserves a mulligan" for his tough 2011 season.  Nishioka suffered a broken leg in his first season in the Major Leagues.
  • "We have had more meetings with our training and medical staff this season than in the ten years prior to," Antony said in regards to how the Twins responded to last year's injury-riddled season.  Still, Antony doesn't lay blame on the training staff: "These are the guys who were in place the year before, and the year before, and the year before that, so it’s not like all of a sudden they don’t know how to do their job. And last year, it was a perfect storm of everything that could do wrong, did go wrong."

NL West Notes: Cuddyer, Belisario, MacDougal, Ross

A few items of note to pass along out of the NL West …

  • Newly signed Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer will earn a base salary of $10.5MM in each year of his three-year contract, although he can earn an additional $1.5MM in incentives in the deal's final year, 2014, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. 
  • Cuddyer will man right field for the Rox, while Carlos Gonzalez shifts over to center, tweets Thomas Harding of MLB.com.
  • Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario, who missed the entire 2011 season due to visa issues, has secured a visa and is expected to be in camp on time for the start of Spring Training, according to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times
  • However, Belisario will have to serve a 25-game suspension, which are typically doled out when players fail to comply with treatment programs, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Belisario had issues with substance abuse in 2010 and 2011, which is in part why he had trouble obtaining a visa.
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says he's still in the market for another reliever despite re-adding Belisario to the bullpen picture, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles. Gurnick reports the Dodgers remain in negotiations to bring back right-hander Mike MacDougal.
  • Free agent outfielder Cody Ross, who spent the past season and a half with the Giants, is now seeking a two-year contract, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Ross was originally looking for a three-year pact, but that was only to remain in pitcher-friendly San Francisco, according to O'Brien.

NL East Links: Oswalt, Davis, Cedeno, Cuddyer

Here's the latest from the National League East…

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

Michael Cuddyer Rumors: Thursday

The Rockies, Twins, Mariners and Reds have some interest in Michael Cuddyer, according to yesterday's reports. Here's the latest on Cuddyer with the most recent updates up top:

  • The Rockies are "growing increasingly confident" that they will sign Cuddyer, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, who adds that Colorado is now the favorite to ink the veteran.
  • The Rockies are leaning toward Cuddyer over Carlos Beltran, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter).
  • The Phillies remain in the mix for Cuddyer, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding.
  • Some executives believe the Orioles may be bidding for Cuddyer, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. However, FOX reports that Cuddyer is not a leading concern of GM Dan Duquette's.
  • A Twins official told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he wouldn't rule anything out, Cuddyer included. Christensen doesn't get the sense that Minnesota has pulled its three-year, $24MM offer. 
  • However, one of Jon Heyman’s sources says there doesn't appear to be room in the Twins’ budget for Cuddyer now that they’ve agreed to sign Josh Willingham to a $21MM deal. 
  • The Red Sox did not enter the bidding for Cuddyer this week, according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune (on Twitter).
  • The Rockies and Mariners remain in the mix for Cuddyer, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
  • Troy Tulowitzki told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that he won’t object if Colorado signs Cuddyer. "I think our lineup is one of the better ones in the National League, but it would be huge to get another bat," Tulowitzki said. "I have heard nothing but good things about Cuddyer.”

Michael Cuddyer Rumors: Wednesday

We learned yesterday that the Rockies' offer to Michael Cuddyer is greater than the Twins' three-year proposal in the $25MM range. However, Cuddyer appears to be seeking a three-year, $30MM deal. Here's the latest on the free agent outfielder with the most recent updates up top:

  • GM Terry Ryan says the Twins have not ended contract talks with Cuddyer, according to ESPN.com.
  • The Mariners are in on Cuddyer and the Phillies may be involved as well, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown (on Twitter).
  • The Rockies continue discussing a deal with Cuddyer, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding (on Twitter). If the sides agree to terms, the Rockies will start pursuing free agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda less intensely.
  • There's no official word that Cuddyer isn't returning to the Twins, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (on Twitter). Minnesota seems to be nearing a deal with Josh Willingham.
  • The Reds have some interest in Cuddyer.

Reds Info: Pitching, Saunders, Theriot, Cuddyer

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer talked to Reds GM Walt Jocketty; here's the latest.

  • Jocketty says his pursuit of starting pitching has been "very frustrating" and he's not close on anything.  The Reds have been linked in rumors to Gio Gonzalez and Jair Jurrjens in recent weeks.
  • The Reds have made some progress on an extension for Brandon Phillips.
  • Jocketty has contacted the agents for recently non-tendered players Joe Saunders and Ryan Theriot, and the Reds also have some interest in Michael Cuddyer depending on his asking price.  They won't be submitting a bid on Yu Darvish.