The Mets jumped the free agent market yesterday in a surprising way, signing right fielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer to a two-year, $21MM deal that requires the forfeiture of their #15 overall pick in the 2015 draft. As FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan wrote, it was a surprising series of events: Cuddyer wasn’t expected to receive a qualifying offer, then he was expected to accept it once the Rockies made it, and the Mets weren’t expected to be interested in him after the draft pick cost was attached. More on the signing:
- Cuddyer said on a conference call with Mets beat writers today that he would have accepted the Rockies’ qualifying offer had he not been signed by the Mets.
- Sullivan suggests a conservative estimate values the Mets’ lost pick around $10-15MM, and feels the team is “slightly overpaying” overall for Cuddyer. Personally, I think the Mets valued the pick lower than $10-15MM, as that estimate seems to assume the Mets’ pick would have become one of the game’s 100 best prospects. If we instead apply Dave Cameron’s 3x valuation of a draft’s slot value, we might get $7.5MM in value, which MLBTR’s Jeff Todd suggested to me yesterday. Jeff further noted the Mets might have reasons to devalue that estimate. I also think we were low in estimating Cuddyer’s QO-free market value at two years and $22MM back in mid-October, and his real market value could easily have been two years and $28MM or three years and $36MM. Clearly the Mets valued the lost pick into their offer one way or another.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News doesn’t even want to hear an argument that the Mets should not have sacrificed the pick for Cuddyer, saying, “Nothing in baseball is more romanticized, fetishized and overvalued than draft picks and prospects.” Martino feels the Cuddyer signing signaled the right mindset for the Mets.
- The Mets initially balked at giving up the pick to sign Cuddyer, writes Marc Carig of Newsday, but GM Sandy Alderson changed his mind. According to assistant GM John Ricco, “I think this is a message that we’re going to be aggressive. And right out of the box, we had a guy we liked and we went out and got him.” The Mets had no interest in offering multiple years to other free agent candidates, says Carig.
- New Rockies GM Jeff Bridich comes out smelling like roses, snagging a supplemental draft pick most didn’t expect he could get. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post has quotes from Bridich, who said, “The way that we looked at it was that if we had Cuddy come back on a one-year deal with us, and had he just purely accepted the offer, that was fine. We tried to engage on multiyear talks from the get-go. Even before the (qualifying) offer was made. When the qualifying offer was made, we said, ’OK, if there is anything to talk about a multiyear offer, let us know. We are ready to engage.’ That doesn’t guarantee it would happen, but we were ready.” It seems Bridich did a better job of reading Cuddyer’s market than the media did.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post likes the signing for the Mets in a 55-45 way. He explains, “He was the outfielder with flaws the Mets knew they could get and there is an upside that makes this a huge gamble probably worth taking. The Mets did not have to touch their pitching surplus to land Cuddyer. They got this done on Nov. 10. They have their stockpile and all winter to address shortstop.”
- Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News has quotes from Ricco regarding Cuddyer’s recent spotty health record. Said Ricco, “He took a physical today. We’ve looked at all the injuries and there was nothing there that we’re too concerned about. And the age is the age. Certainly there’s risk associated with any signing. And we believe in the player and think he’s going to be a real good fit for us.”