As reported by MLB Trade Rumors, Michael Cuddyer has accepted the Rockies’ offer of a three-year contract at $27 million. This is great news in my opinion. Who is the last legit free agent the Rockies managed to land? Mike Hampton? The organization’s business model for the past decade has been to focus on drafting and development, grooming players within the Rockies’ system so that the team can remain as homegrown as possible. This is ideal, and I really appreciate that we’ve done things this way. However, one of the features of a good business model is the user’s ability to make changes to it when they’re necessary. Locking into only one way of doing things doesn’t work over the long-term.
The Rockies are always going to be a mostly homegrown team. It’s too small of a market for them to ever have the money to make a play for big free agents like the Yankees and Phillies do. So when we can get a player like Cuddyer, that’s a game changer for the team. He brings experience, versatility, and solid offense. He may or may not be worth $9 million a year, but the fact that he took so long to make his decision indicates that other offers were similar, so that’s his market value right now. Whether or not it’s his actual value is irrelevant. If you want to sign the guy, you have to give him more than others are willing to.
Cuddyer isn’t going to fix all the Rockies’ problems. But he’s a solid bat in a lineup weakened by the departure of Chris Iannetta. He’s way better than Ty Wigginton. And we have the payroll space for him because Huston Street is gone. To me this all makes sense. I still don’t think the Rockies have a shot at contending in 2012 because the pitching situation is still too unstable, but we have a chance now to get back to our fighting weight offensively. If that can happen next year as the rotation slowly untangles itself, this could be a great team in 2013. And Carlos Beltran wouldn’t have been a member of that team. Cuddyer is a longer-term solution. So well done, Dan O’Dowd.
Update: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the contract is 3 years at $31.5 million.