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Ron Gardenhire says the Twins “are making a mad effort” to re-sign Michael Cuddyer

Dec 1, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT

cuddyer getty Getty Images

During a 1500-ESPN radio interview yesterday manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins “are making a mad effort” to re-sign free agent Michael Cuddyer, adding that “both sides are talking.”

Cuddyer previously visited the Phillies and has reportedly drawn interest from several other teams, and if he signs elsewhere the Type A free agent would fetch the Twins a first-round pick and a supplemental first-round pick.

Cuddyer is beloved in Minnesota, with constant talk about his great leadership and clubhouse presence, but he’ll turn 33 years old during spring training and his actual on-field performance isn’t star-caliber.

This year Cuddyer hit .284 with 20 homers and an .805 OPS in 139 games and his career OPS is .794, which is good but not great for a corner outfielder/first baseman with mediocre defensive chops. There are certainly scenarios in which re-signing Cuddyer makes sense for the Twins, but a three- or four-year deal in excess of $10 million per season would be awfully risky without carrying much upside.

  1. Brandon Warne - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    As a Twins fan:

    “Are you f*****g kidding me?”

    • Jeremiah Graves - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:29 AM


      Without a serious hometown discount, there’s zero reason to bring him back. Let him sign elsewhere and reap the draft pick benefits.

    • trevorb06 - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      Sadly, they’re not. I’ve got the kool-aid ready friend. Join me.

  2. trevorb06 - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    Yeah, resigning Cuddyer (especially over Kubel) would be pretty mad.

  3. baseballpaul - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Michael Cuddyer is my favorite player in MLB, but I think 8.5 million is the magic number. More than that and we’re over paying. I’d give him 4 years at that price. Anything over four years and we’re stuck. Maybe we could get a declining price contract, 10.5/9.5/9/8 I’d do that too.

    • Brandon Warne - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      Four years is even too long.

    • JBerardi - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      Favorite player or not, the last thing any team coming off a 99-loss season needs is to throw a bunch of money at a platoon guy on the wrong side of 30.

      • Bryz - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        The problem is that the Twins don’t even realize that Cuddyer should be platooned.

      • docktorellis - Dec 1, 2011 at 7:12 PM

        Bryz, I just nodded my head and threw up in my mouth.

  4. Brandon Warne - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Easy equation to sum it up:

    Cuddyer and Capps
    Willingham, Coffey, Shoppach, and one more reliever (maybe Francisco?) and three top-60 picks to bolster an increasingly under scrutiny farm system?

    To steal a catch-phrase from a local real estate guy: “It’s the biggest no-brainer in the history of mankind.”

    • docktorellis - Dec 1, 2011 at 7:23 PM

      TWINS!!!!! WHY????

  5. JB (the original) - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    What worries me is that this “mad action” doesn’t bode well for the Twin’s expectations on Morneau’s ability to come back. The Twins have essentially 0 fall back plan if he can’t make it–if they’re truly thinking retooling as opposed to rebuilding–in which case they could justify throwing Parmalee out there and let the chips fall as they may. There aren’t a lot of FA 1B or DH types out there (esp. RH) in their price range who can play elsewhere in the field (and reliably match Cuddy’s #’s) if Morneau does come back OK. He’s a great team guy, the fans love him, he’s willing to play anywhere he’s asked, he’s a righty on a team that needs them, can cover 1st, and RF ‘adequately’ on a team that has serious questions at both positions. If there’s another guy out there that matches those qualities, I sure haven’t heard his name and Twins mentioned in the same sentence this offseason. He’s no star, but his peg does fit the Twins hole at this time when there aren’t a lot of other options (other than spending big money, and I think we can all agree that that’s a non-starter).

    The Twins are having another STH call-in Q&A tonight at 7pm with Terry Ryan; if I can get my question in (they had over 3500 on the line last time) I’ll ask him just that.

    • Brandon Warne - Dec 1, 2011 at 12:31 PM

      There’s no reason to have a fallback. If he isn’t healthy, the season is a bust anyway.

      • JB (the original) - Dec 1, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        Shhh. I know that, but that’s not exactly they can go out and tell the fanbase after getting a new ballpark on the public’s dime and then laying a big ‘ol egg on the field last year. It wouldn’t go over so well after the public allows them to pump up the payroll like they did, and then go in the toilet when almost half of it goes to the gimpy M&M boys for the next couple (well several in Mauer’s case) years. They really hosed themselves.

  6. JB (the original) - Dec 1, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    Oh, and I wouldn’t offer anything over $8M a year for 2 years with a 3rd year “numbers” based option.

  7. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 1, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    “We’re making a very mad effort! We’ve performed voodoo, we contrived a seance, we bought him a Sam’s Club membership and we’ve offered to stuff his locker with Nutella every day! We’ve gone delightfully mad!”

  8. Francisco (FC) - Dec 1, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Has anyone checked on Gleeman?

  9. hansob - Dec 1, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Don’t forget he can still accept arbitration and the ~$13M that would go along with that. So if you’re in on Cuddyer, you’d have to outbid that, too. I’m guessing if the best offer he gets is 2 yrs / $18M, he’s going the arbitration route.

    As Johnnie Cochran once said, “If you’re a buyer on Cuddyer, you’ve got to go higher”

    • JB (the original) - Dec 1, 2011 at 3:02 PM

      Ahh yes, the arbitration numbers… I’m not sure if I want to go with “I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit” or “I don’t remember eating that” Good thing we got that inexpensive Japanese whiz kid at SS, err, 2B, uumm AAA, maybe? Boy, they resign Capps, and it’s just gonna be like “Miracle on 34th St.” Can someone help me pull this fork out of my eye?

  10. sonofshanemack - Dec 2, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    People have to realize that this was Gardy talking.

    Gardy LOVES Cuddyer. Not as much as he loves Nick Punto – I’m sure he cried for hours after he signed with the Cards – but he still loves the guy.

    Gardy doesn’t make personnel decisions. Terry Ryan does. Ryan didn’t usually sign aging veterans to long multi-year deals. He let Koskie, Hunter, Jacque Jones leave after they wanted too much money and were getting older. He’s a pragmatic guy. Ryan hasn’t always given Gardy what he wanted, so I wouldn’t get too worried.

    • Brandon Warne - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      But they let Shane Mack get away.

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