It is well established by now that the Colorado Rockies are not shopping center fielder Dexter Fowler. They will listen to offers, of course. The front office has regurgitated the same stock answer that every fan base, across all the major sports, hears in these situations: “We owe it to the franchise to listen to any opportunity, because we have to always look for ways to improve the team.”
Or some variation thereof.
Should it be the same for Michael Cuddyer? Or shouldn’t they be shopping Cuddyer rather than just listening to offers for him?
Thomas Harding reports that their stance is the same when it comes to Cuddy, one of the most likable players in baseball and an expert in clubhouse culture improvement: not shopping, but will listen in case they are overwhelmed by another team’s offer. But if reams scoffed at the ridiculously high asking price for Fowler, a young and cheap switch hitting center fielder, will they just laugh out loud (LOL!) in the team’s face about the price for Cuddyer?
What will always make Cuddyer a valuable asset is his power as a right handed hitter. And yes, clubhouse culture talk aside, he brings a measure of stability and veteran leadership (some people buy into idea that more than others).
The main case for keeping Cuddyer centers around his versatility. It is tough to consider parting with him when the possibility remains that Todd Helton will not be able to return and man first base. If the Rockies do eventually have a reason to make Cuddyer the full time first baseman, he fits that profile pretty nicely and can ease the most dreaded transition in franchise history (into the post-Toddfather era).
Other than the glaring need to add starting pitching, the main case for actively shopping Cuddyer is his high salary. Whether you supported his signing and were against it one year ago, it was a unanimously held opinion that Rockies overpaid for him. The team has players who can most likely match Cuddyer’s production for less money, and then the savings can be dedicated to adding even more help in the pitching department. In short, if another team is actually willing to take on Cuddyer’s salary, the Rockies should not also expect to be overwhelmed by the package they receive.
Michael Cuddyer is one of my favorite players on the Rockies. From the moment he arrived last season as a new member of the team, he was one of the easiest guys to cheer for. From that perspective I want them to keep him. But looking at things from the business side of baseball and the team’s biggest need…if a team actually exists that would want Cuddyer and his contract and send the Rockies any form of pitching help…then they need to shift from “just listening” to “actively shopping” for that team as a trading partner.