Evaluating The Talent: Michael Cuddyer


Let’s all agree about one thing when it comes to Michael Cuddyer: he is a darn likable guy. He is a born leader, a class act, a photographer, and a magician. Everybody loves Cuddy. Even with the skills he brings on the field, you have to believe the Rockies would feel differently about him right now if he wasn’t such a “good guy.”

Cuddyer will try to bounce back in 2013. Image: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Remove the collective affection for Cuddyer and you have to assume that the Rockies would be aggressively trying to trade him. And I do mean aggressively. Even if there is not a ton of value to be had for a 33-year-old outfielder with a terrible contract, the Rockies would presumably settle for a little bit less value to dump said contract and clear the way for Tyler Colvin.

The best way to convince yourself that the Rockies should keep Cuddyer, his personality aside, is to not view him as an outfielder. View him first as a powerful right handed bat; before the season hit the skids in 2012, Cuddy flashed the kind of pop from the 5 hole that the Rockies signed him to provide. Only when he was forced to bat clean-up and serve as the biggest threat in the lineup did he truly regress and make us all cringe at how much the Rockies are paying him. With good health, Cuddyer can slide back into that complementary role in the lineup and succeed as the right handed bat that eluded the Rockies in the years prior to 2012.

Next we need to take a serious look at him as a first baseman. His defense there is a bit frightening, but really, how is that different than watching him play the outfield? Todd Helton has acknowledged that his games will be limited this season. When he does not start, that means a lineup that contains Cuddyer and Tyler Colvin. That is nice depth to have for a team that needs to win with a strong lineup. If Cuddy was only platooning with blocking Colvin from regular time in the outfield, he simply would not fit on this roster. His (relative) versatility and his ability to fill in at first base make him a perfectly fine fit on the roster. Make no mistake, the Rockies will need Cuddyer and Colvin in 2013.

I still think the Rockies should shop Cuddyer on the trade market. Not “listen” to other teams. Shop him. Even if that means there is nobody to tweet out cool pictures, be nice to everybody, and baffle Chris Nelson with magic tricks. The Rockies should pursue trades for Cuddyer.

They won’t do that, because darn it, they just love the guy too much. I won’t voice my objections too loudly, because I am also fond of Cuddyer and like cheering for him. So when April rolls around and the outfield grass is moist on the chilly morning of Opening Day, you can bank on Michael Cuddyer making the start in right field.

Where should Cuddyer be in 2013? Uhh…it depends on how much the Rockies need him to play first. And I just don’t have the heart to say “on another team.” He’s just so darn likable!

Where will Cuddyer be in 2013? Playing right field and first base as a starter for the Colorado Rockies.