Michael Cuddyer is unlikely to re-sign with the Colorado Rockies as a free agent this off-season, though the possibility cannot be ruled out. As the Hot Stove heats up this winter, could the veteran outfielder land with the New York Mets?
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If the Colorado Rockies can get out of their own way, cut their losses, and let Michael Cuddyer walk as a free agent this winter, the affable right-handed hitter will have a number of suitors. As the first few rumors start to emerge, it appears that another National League team might be angling for Cuddyer’s services.
Earlier this month, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported the following about the New York Mets and their potential interest in Cuddyer:
"So where do they find a bat? Well, here’s an idea, one that that’s already been floated in the blogosphere, and turns out to be a concrete possibility: Free agent Michael Cuddyer, the exact sort of piece that fits the offense the Mets hope to construct.Cuddyer is just such a piece. Thirty-five years old, he was injured much of this season, but hit 10 home runs in 49 games, while batting .332. People familiar with the Mets’ thinking say that the team considers him attractive on a two-year deal."
A two-year deal seems reasonable given the injury issues with which Cuddyer has dealt with over the last three seasons. If the market for Cuddyer actually ends up being in that range, who’s to say that the Rockies would not also be interested? Spoiler: they would be. But will that actually be the market for a veteran, injury-prone outfielder?
That raises an interesting question about Cuddyer and about the state of free agency in Major League Baseball in general. Martino wonders about the potential inflation of Cuddyer’s market this off-season:
"It is hard to imagine Cuddyer getting more than that, but as one major league executive notes about the Mets’ top free agent target last year, “No one thought Jhonny Peralta was going to get four years, either.” The Cardinals shocked the Mets, and most of baseball, by giving Peralta a four-year, $52 million deal."
Will the lack of quality players in free agency drive Cuddyer’s price up, both in terms of money and years? It likely will, which makes signing him a dicey proposition. That said, between the league-wide desire for right-handed power bats, Cuddyer’s appeal as a veteran leader, and the lack of top free agents, somebody is going to overpay to sign him.
Normally I would say that inflated free agent prices would effectively rule the Rockies out and leave the player to a team like the Mets…but not with Michael Cuddyer.
The Rockies love Cuddyer, and until there is wet ink on a contract agreed to by him and another MLB team, I will fear that the Rockies will not be able to help themselves and will pursue re-signing the lovable veteran despite having no fit for him whatsoever on their current roster.