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Michael Cuddyer’s delayed decision has everyone confused

Dec 15, 2011, 3:37 PM EDT

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As a Twins fan I’ve been confused by Michael Cuddyer not responding to a three-year, $25 million offer that Minnesota put on the table more than a week ago and apparently I’m not alone.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com writes that “many in the industry are baffled that free agent Michael Cuddyer is taking so long to make a decision.”

Not only hasn’t Cuddyer made a decision on the Twins’ offer, the Rockies have reportedly been waiting to hear back from him as well.

Now, in fairness Cuddyer’s wife just gave birth to twin daughters last week, so his focus may be elsewhere, but Rosenthal speculates on a few potential reasons for the delay that includes possibly waiting to see if the Phillies re-sign Jimmy Rollins or if the Mariners sign Prince Fielder.

And while it doesn’t make much sense to me, the Twins have said they’re still interested in bringing Cuddyer back even after signing Josh Willingham to replace him.

  1. Kanonen80 - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    I agree that it’s odd that the Twins are still willing to bring Cuddy back even after signing Willingham. Technically, Willingham isn’t ‘replacing’ Cuddyer since he’ll most likely play LF, right? Meaning RF is still open for Cuddyer to take back if Mr. Pohlad decides to let Ryan expand the payroll a bit to fit Cuddyer. And, if the Pohlads like Cuddyer as much as they say they do I can see that happening.

    The defense might not be very good, but Willingham-Span/Revere-Cuddy can’t be any worse than Delmon-Span-Cuddyer from last year. From what I hear, Willingham can actually catch balls hit at him… With that defensive alignment, Revere will be able to act as a pinch-runner defensive replacement for Willingham late in games.

    As long as they are willing to go up to $115Mish for the payroll, I actually think it makes tons of sense to bring Cuddy back considering all the depth issues and health concerns.

    • kopy - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:59 PM

      Revere would be in LF since he has a wet noodle where his arm should be. Willingham was signed to play RF, I believe.

      • Kanonen80 - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:39 PM

        Assuming Span is over his concussion for good…

      • dluxxx - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:50 PM

        See, I’ve been wondering about Willingham’s arm myself. I haven’t been able to find any info on it. I’m sure it dosen’t match up with Cuddy’s but I’m assumimg that it has to be better than Revere’s.

        Also, Willingham makes more sense in RF since Target field has a smaller RF area. Revere and Span can cover a bunch of ground, and if they can cover 3/4 of the outfield, then that will help make up for Willingham’s lack of range… hopefully.

      • kopy - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:59 PM

        Everything I’ve heard on Willingham’s arm also puts it between Revere and Cuddyer. Not only does LF have a lot more ground to cover at Target Field, but RF needs to have at least some semblance of power otherwise runners will go from 1st to 3rd all day long. It would be a gross misuse of Revere’s talents to put him there.

      • wlschneider09 - Dec 15, 2011 at 5:00 PM

        From what I’ve seen of Willingham, his arm is pretty good when he throws to the right place. Decision making wasn’t always spectacular. Not so good at covering ground. He also plays way back, cause he can’t go back to save his life. Caveat, this is a few years back when he was a Nat.

        I’d love to have another RH bat in the fold, but is Cuddy worth that much to us now?

  2. granted42 - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Maybe he’s waiting for a mystery team to get into a bidding war. :-)

  3. rooney24 - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Cuddy back, but would rather have the money spent on pitching. If Willingham is more comfortable in LF, then either (A) use Revere in CF and Span in RF, or (B) use Span in CF and use Plouffe in RF since he can’t seem to play SS defensively, but his bat may be OK if given some regular playing time. If not Plouffe, then one of the other young guys (can’t recall the name, is Benson the younger OF that is supposed to be a top prospect that was up for short time late last season?)

    • dluxxx - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      Benson was up last year, but will probably begin the year at AA or AAA. He’s still a year or two from being ML ready.

    • Kanonen80 - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:54 PM

      Yeah, Benson was up in September but I don’t think he’s played above AA before that. So who knows if he’s ready or not.

      I agree about spending money on pitcher before Cuddyer – hopefully they would get permission to expand payroll to fit Cuddyer so it wouldn’t affect other plans. As it stands now Ryan only has about $4M left to spend on pitching if he’s sticking to the $100M payroll limit.

  4. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    It’s true that family should be first on his mind, but if I had twin children, my gut would be telling me to go pick up a paycheck fast.

    • Kanonen80 - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:55 PM

      Haha, good point. But I’m pretty sure that the Cuddyer’s are doing okay in that department…

  5. dadandrusko - Dec 15, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    None of this makes any sense–paying out tens of millions to Cuddyer–unless we assume that Ryan is either willing to settle for pitchers off the junk heap (which he is known to do) ; has trades for pitchers in mind (which might hike the budget); plans to find an international pitcher (which for sure jacks up the budget); or some combination thereof. He is too smart not to realize the Twins are at least three pitchers short of having a competent staff.

    • wlschneider09 - Dec 15, 2011 at 5:07 PM

      The twins have a different concept of “competent staff” perhaps.

  6. spudatx - Dec 15, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    Denard really hasn’t turned into the hitter the Twins hoped for. Revere is a much better fielder, bats about the same, and will cost much less over the next few years.

    If Cuddy doesn’t sign with the Twins, it doesn’t seem too far fetched for them to up their bid on Kubel to set their outfield up to be Revere (LF), Willingham (CF), Kubel (RF/DH), and then bring up Benson or Parmalee. Also, Plouffe has announced he is transitioning from a regular IF player to OF. One thing is for certain, if Cuddy or Kubel return, D-Span will be sent in a deal to bring in some pitching before the first pitch of the year.

    • byjiminy - Dec 15, 2011 at 10:02 PM

      bats about the same?

      Ben Revere career numbers: OBP .305 SLG .301 OPS .606

      Denard Span career numbers: OBP .361 SLG .387 OPS .748

      Span also had one year of AVG .311 OBP .392 BSLG.415 OPS .807 , and that was a full season, 578 at bats, so his upside is pretty high. Revere’s best year was basically the above.

      Revere did have high OBP numbers in the minors, and a high average, with no power, but he hasn’t shown he can hit in the majors, and since he has zero power a pitcher would have to be crazy to think of walking him. THey will throw strikes until he proves he can handle them, which so far he hasn’t.

      He’s a good fielder but an OPS of .606 from a corner outfielder is not acceptable on a team with any pretense of contending. He’s a legitimate back up for Span and late inning pinch runner/defensive replacement, but if Revere is starting in left field all year, the Yankees will be laughing at the thought of playing them. Please prove me wrong, Ben.

    • Cris E - Dec 15, 2011 at 10:11 PM

      Wow, where to start…

      Denard was horrrrrrible in the minors for years, and only put together an idea on hitting when he reached the bigs (and got lasik.) They were hoping his excellent glove would be useful and were pleasantly shocked when a hitter appeared. And Revere has always hit for huge average, but when he reached the bigs he struggled to get his OBP to .300 and he’s *never* has any power, so he isn’t at all as good a hitter as Span has been the past few years.

      Kubel is all but gone regardless of what happens with Cuddyer. The negotiations have not gone well nor have they been lengthy. He told a local beat writer this week he thinks it’s all over, and that was before Willingham signed. Oh, and you have to put a real CF between those two lummoxes even if he throws like Snoopy, the gaps are huge at Target Field. Plouffe was told he’s being moved, he didn’t announce anything, and the only way they’d trade Span is if they didn’t think he was recovering from his concussion. He’s good, cheap and well-liked at a time when good and familiar and money are in short supply.

      All that said, I agree with your last point mostly because I have little confidence that Span is over his concussion. The initial injury was years ago, he’s been battling this reoccurrence for quite a while, and in recent interviews he hasn’t sounded confident that things are improving. Furthermore, I think Revere will improve and be enough of a leadoff hitter that they can afford to move Span, so I’d send him away before he has a chance to lose value.

  7. bennyh55311 - Dec 15, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    As Cuddy says, “the average joe doesnt know how tough it is to play baseball every day”. Screw him, sign Kubel.

  8. Old Gator - Dec 15, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    Perhaps some of the delay is due to an athletic scholarship in college or something like that. It has been my observation that athletic scholarships don’t emphasize analytic thinking very much.

  9. mojosmagic - Dec 15, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    If Jimmy Rollins keeps playing games Cudeyer will end up in Philly and they bring up Gavis .

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