Reggie Von Bartles
Hot Stove: The Rockies Land Michael Cuddyer
Friday December 16th, 2011
Looking to sign a right-handed bat for their lineup, the Colorado Rockies have agreed to sign outfielder Michael Cuddyer. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Rockies have reached an agreement with Cuddyer on a three-year, $31.5 million deal.
After signing Josh Willingham earlier in the week for three-years/$21 million, it appeared the Twins had moved on from re-signing Cuddyer. He was reportedly offered a $25 million contract from the Twins earlier in the week, but obviously the Rockies deal was substantially higher in money.
Cuddyer, 32, has spent all of his big league career with the Twins. In 11 seasons and 1139 games as a member of the Twins, he hit .272/.343/.451 with a .794 OPS. He also hit 141 home runs and collected 580 RBI. In 2011, he hit .284/.346/.459 with 20 home runs and was named to the American League All-Star team.
He's been the man with many baseball gloves during his time with the Twins, spending considerable time in the outfield, first base, second base, and third base. With Cuddyer primarily playing the outfield, Colorado manager Jim Tracy will have to decide where Cuddyer best helps the team. The current Rockies outfield consists of Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Seth Smith, and now Cuddyer.
Tracy could also attempt to use Cuddyer at third base, as the team has no clear plan for the hot corner. Earlier in the off-season, the team traded Ty Wigginton to the Phillies and Ian Stewart to the Cubs. There have been talks of rookie Jordan Pacheco playing third base, but with only 49 professional games at third base between the minor leagues and the big leagues, that could prove to be a risk.
In addition to Pacheco, the team also has 20-year-old prospect Nolan Arenado. He's ranked the No. 2 best prospect in the Colorado organization according to Baseball America. He hit .298/.349/.487 with 20 homers and 122 RBI at high-Class-A Modesto in 2011. He's expected to start the season at Double-A, but could become a regular for the Rockies by 2013.
From a fantasy perspective, Cuddyer's biggest fantasy value is the fact that he has multiple position eligibility. Last season alone, Cuddyer player 77 games in the outfield, 46 games at first base, and 17 games at second base. He's surpassed the 30 home run plateau just once during his career, and has hit at least 20 home runs three times during his 11 year career. Having Coors Field as your home park is a nice bonus for any hitter, so perhaps 25 home runs for Cuddyer this season isn't out of the question. According to Mock Draft Central, Cuddyer has an average draft position (ADP) of 35 among all outfielders with an overall ADP of 140.
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