Michael Cuddyer hit for the cycle on Sunday evening at Coors Field.
Thanks to some creative defensive from Jay Bruce in right field, Cuddy had a “triple” in the first inning and the rest was history. When he came up needing only a double in the bottom of the eighth inning to complete the cycle, it was hard to escape the feeling that some magic was on the way.
In the midst of a horrid three year stretch in the franchise’s history, Cuddyer has continued to deliver some of the best moments for fans to enjoy and appreciate. His run to a batting title was something to cheer for during a season that was otherwise lost in 2013. On Sunday, he delivered a thrill at a moment when the Rockies and their fans desperately needed a boost.
Watch the reactions from the fans, the players, and even Cuddyer himself, and you know that this was a great moment for everybody. It also proves that, if nothing else, Cuddy has good timing.
As he approaches the final month and change of the deal that he signed with the Rockies three years ago, Cuddyer has played a total of 263 games and counting. He was been a 4.1 fWAR player in total during those games.
During times of good health, Cuddyer’s production at the plate has been great. But truth be told, it is not the kind of production that stands on its own as a reason to re-sign Cuddyer this off-season; those numbers would not justify re-signing an injury-prone player for his age 36 season and beyond, not unless the Rockies pair his re-signing with corresponding moves with some of their other outfielders to improve the overall quality of the roster.
In Cuddyer’s case, the numbers will not stand alone. Furthermore, we have seen in the last couple years that roster construction will hardly even be a consideration in this or any decision by Bill Geivett and his band of merry men.
Cuddyer’s likability, leadership, and hustle will all factor into the front office’s decision. For a team that is in shambles and has its only depth in the outfield, that will potentially be a mistake. Had Cuddyer not returned from the DL to play in these final months, the Rockies might approach the situation differently.
The difficult part of the decision is this: these happy moments matter. Cuddyer’s ability to break up the misery, complete with his smiling face and class act personality, has been important these last few seasons. Paying for those moments in free agency might not be a great business plan, however, but you better believe the Rockies are going to do so anyway.
When he hit for the cycle, especially considering the timing of the accomplishment, Cuddyer all but guaranteed that the happy vibes surrounding him will earn him another deal with the Rockies if he wants it. Indications are that he will, and so it is that the popular silver fox will likely return once again next season to split time between a crowded outfield and first base in 2015.
Sorry, Corey Dickerson…