Getting paid creates impatience. Michael Cuddyer learned that last season after the Colorado Rockies signed him to a three year, $32 million deal. Everybody saw the contract as too much money, especially considering the production that Cuddyer’s former team, the Minnesota Twins, were getting from Josh Willingham at a lesser price. As Cuddyer struggled through an injury-riddled season in which he played 101 games and batted .260/.317/.489, his presence on the Rockies was immediately called into question.
If the Rockies were going to overpay for the lovable veteran, he needed to reward them with solid production, right? It seemed reasonable, and as soon as it did not happen last year the murmurs started that the team should move on from Cuddyer. Trade him and give his playing time to the likes of Tyler Colvin and Jordan Pacheco (at first base, in the case of the latter). The front office would not budge in their affection for Cuddyer, and boy has it paid off.
In Saturday’s victory over the Washington Nationals Cuddyer knocked an RBI single in the 1st inning. In doing so he extended his hitting streak to 20 games and reached base for a team-record 39th straight game. For the year he is batting an astounding .332/.388/.556 with 10 home runs and 31 RBI. We are 55 games into the season and Cuddyer is a 1.0 WAR player. Perhaps most impressively, he has maintained his production despite Troy Tulowitzki‘s absence from the lineup in the last week or so.
There is some unrest among the Rockies faithful that left fielder Carlos Gonzalez is not higher in the All-Star voting for the National League. That makes sense because CarGo is an MVP candidate, but Cuddyer is not far behind him when it comes to deserving votes. At week’s end last week CarGo was 5th in the voting; Cuddyer was nowhere to be found in the top 15 and was behind players like Jon Jay (.243/.323/.332) and B.J. Upton (.178/.271/.320).
Besides the intangibles that make the Rockies executives and coaches drool, Cuddyer’s tangible numbers in 2013 are elite. The Rockies would be nowhere without him and with this hitting streak he is showing that he deserves to be an All-Star too.