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Tag:Michael Cuddyer
Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:29 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 11:08 am
 

Rockies agree to sign Michael Cuddyer



By Matt Snyder


Free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer has agreed to sign a three-year, $31.5 million contract with the Colorado Rockies, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has learned. The final stages of the contract are currently being completed.

Cuddyer is an 11-year veteran and has only played for the Twins. But when the Twins and Cuddyer had two different figures in mind for a contract, the Twins went ahead and signed Josh Willingham, seemingly leaving no room for Cuddyer. The Rockies had been courting Cuddyer anyway, so when Willingham went to Minnesota, the door was open. Cuddyer had wanted at least $30 million over three years from the Twins -- who reportedly offered $25 million over three years -- so the Rockies came up with the figure needed. Minnesota, meanwhile, used $24 million in a three-year contract to net Willingham. 

Hot Stove
Cuddyer, 32, has played every position in a major-league game except shortstop and catcher. Yes, he's even pitched. But he's going to serve as a right fielder and first baseman for the Rockies. He'll become the everyday right fielder, while also spelling Todd Helton from time to time, likely eventually taking over for him.

The Rockies found Cuddyer to be a good fit both in terms of on-field performance and in the clubhouse. They were interested in Carlos Beltran as a backup plan, so he will now have to look elsewhere. Earlier this week, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reported the Cardinals, Blue Jays and "at least two other unidentified clubs" are also interested in Beltran, so he's definitely not left out in the dark.

Cuddyer hit .284/.346/.459 with 20 homers, 70 RBI, 70 runs and 11 stolen bases last season. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career, though he had very good seasons in 2006 and 2009 as well. He's not a marquee bat, but he doesn't have to be. The Rockies have Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki holding down the 3-4 spots in the order. We should also recognize that Cuddyer is moving from a pitcher's park in Target Field to Coors Field, which ranked as the top hitter's park in 2009-10 and second-best in 2011 behind Rangers Ballpark.

The move puts Gonzalez in left field and Seth Smith is now moved to the bench as the fourth outfielder. Smith has been mentioned throughout the offseason in trade rumors, so don't expect those to quiet down anytime soon.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 6:10 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 4:22 pm
 

Josh Willingham headed to Twins



By Matt Snyder


The Minnesota Twins has signed free agent outfielder Josh Willingham, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has confirmed. The deal, which is pending a physical, has been reported to be three years for $21 million by the Star Tribune.

The Twins preferred to have free agent Michael Cuddyer return to the club and were reportedly offering him a three-year, $25 million contract, but Cuddyer was initially seeking three years, $36 million -- reports CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler -- and has lowered his asking price to three years and $30 million.

Hot Stove Tuesday
Still, the Twins seem content to move on to Willingham as talks did not progress to their liking with Cuddyer.

Willingham, 32, hit .246/.332/.477 with 29 homers, 98 RBI and 26 doubles in 136 games last season for the A's.

The Twins still have several decisions to make with their outfield -- and designated hitter spot, for that matter -- so it's unclear exactly where what the depth chart looks like. That being said, Willingham will absolutely be an everyday starter, probably in left field. Ben Revere, Denard Span (long rumored in trade talks) are already on hand. At DH, the Twins can use some combination of Justin Morneau, Ryan Doumit and Joe Mauer -- whichever of the three isn't playing the field -- or even Willingham. Jason Kubel is a free agent.

As for Cuddyer, as has previously been mentioned by Heyman, the Rockies have interest in him as well as Carlos Beltran. With the Twins off the board for Cuddyer, it would seem Cuddyer now needs to turn to Colorado. And the Rockies may just get to choose between the two. We'll see.

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Posted on: December 11, 2011 3:48 pm
 

Indians add Felix Pie on minor-league deal

Felix PieBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Indians have agreed to a minor-league deal with former Orioles outfielder Felix Pie, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets.

According to the report, Pie can earn up to $1 million in performance bonuses and can opt out by opening day.

Pie, a one-time top prospect of the Cubs, took a huge step back in 2011, hitting .220/.264/.280 in 85 games for the Orioles after hitting .270/.315/.424 with 14 homers and 60 RBI in his first two seasons in Baltimore. Pie offers debth in the outfield, as he can play all three positions. Clevelnad re-signed center fielder Grady Sizemore, who makes up the outfield, as of now, with Shin-Soo Choo and Michael Brantley.

The Indians are reportedly still in on free-agent outfielder Josh Willingham. The Mariners, Rockies and Twins are also interested in Willigham. Minnesota and Colorado see Willingham as a fallback option if either loses out on Michael Cuddyer.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: December 9, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 6:41 pm
 

Best free agents left after winter meetings



By C. Trent Rosecrans

The winter meetings are over and some of the biggest names on the free-agent market are off the table, but that doesn't mean the hot stove has died out. So, the day after Albert Pujols and the Angels shocked the baseball world, here's a look at the top five position players and pitchers left on the market:

Postition players

Prince Fielder1. Prince Fielder -- The 27-year-old Fielder is the biggest fish left on the market, averaging more than 38 home runs in his six full seasons in the big leagues and posting a .929 career OPS. Whoever lands Fielder will get a shot to the lineup. The knock is Fielder's weight and the length of a contract.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Blue Jays, Cubs, Mariners, Marlins

Carlos Beltran2. Carlos Beltran -- Beltran's been a bit of a forgotten name in all the winter meetings talk. Beltran will be 35 in April and just finished a seven-year deal with the Mets. After being limited by injuries in his last two seasons, Beltran had a bounce-back year, hitting .300/.385/.525 with 22 homers and 84 RBI and doing that in two home ballparks not known to be friendly to hitters, Citi Field and AT&T Park. He can still play center field, but is probably better suited on a corner.

Possible landing spots: Cardinals, Nationals, Red Sox, Tigers, Braves, Mariners, Cubs

Aramis Ramirez3. Aramis Ramirez -- Even though he has 14 years in the big leagues under his belt, Ramirez is just 33 and coming off a .306/.361/.510 season with 26 homers and 93 RBI. A two-time All-Star, he's by far the best third baseman on the market -- and it's not even close.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Phillies, Marlins

Michael Cuddyer4. Michael Cuddyer -- Cuddyer will be 33 in March and can play both the corner outfield and infield spots, offering teams a versatile player. He hit .284/.346/.459 with 20 homers last season and hit 32 homers in 2009 before the Twins moved to spacious Target Field. The Twins have reportedly already offered him a three-year deal, as have the Rockies.

Possible landing spots: Rockies, Twins, Phillies, Giants, Red Sox

Jimmy Rollins5. Jimmy Rollins -- It seems odd to consider the 2007 MVP in anything but a Phillies uniform, but Pujols is now in California, so anything's possible. Rollins' offensive numbers have dropped off since his MVP season, but he still plays a premium position -- and one a couple of teams need to fill. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Rollins turned 33 last month. If he re-signs with the Phillies, it could be his last contract. Rollins is reportedly searching for a five-year contract, a tactic that may scare away every team other than the Phillies.

Possible landing spots: Phillies, Cardinals

Pitchers

Yu Darvish1. Yu Darvish -- The 25-year-old Japanese right-hander will reportedly be posted and has been seen as perhaps the best starter available. There's no shortage of teams that could be interested in Darvish, but the history of recent big-ticket Japanese pitchers could scare off some suitors and keep the posting fee lower than expected. Once his team in Japan, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighers, accept the posting, the winning team still has to negotiate with Darvish. The posting system, though, gives a chance for a surprise team to emerge the winner.

Possible landing spots: Rangers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Nationals, Royals

Hiroki Kuroda2. Hiroki Kuroda -- There's no question of how Kuroda will perform in the big leagues -- he's gone 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers. Kuroda had a 13-16 record in 2011, despite putting up just a 3.07 ERA. He told the team he wouldn't give up his no-trade protection at the trade deadline, but the Dodgers have already found replacements for him in the rotation. He has one offer on the table already from the Hiroshima Carp in Japan, but would make more money in the U.S.

Possible landing spots: Cubs, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, Carp

Edwin Jackson3. Edwin Jackson -- The fact that Jackson has already played for six different teams and he's just 28 may raise some flags, but he's also had six teams want him at some point and for good reason. Although Jackson has battled inconsistency, he's still had results at times. He was 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA for the Cardinals and White Sox last season. He's not a No. 1, but he's younger than some of the other second-tier starters on the market, increasing his value.

Possible landing spots: Twins, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Rockies, Orioles

Ryan Madson4. Ryan Madson -- Even though there were reports the right-hander had agreed to return to the Phillies earlier this offseason, the team turned to Jonathan Papelbon instead. The Red Sox, who along with the Reds, are still searching for a closer could end up signing Madson and seem the best fit. In his firs tseason as the Phillies' closer, Madson recorded 32 saves, going 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA, striking out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Phillies

Francisco Cordero5. Francisco Cordero -- Like Madson, Cordero seems to be on the outside of the closer game of musical chairs. The Red Sox and Reds are the only team left looking for a closer. The Reds were interested in bringing back Cordero with a discount after declining their $12 million option on the 36-year-old right-hander. Cordero converted 37 saves last season and 150 in four years in Cincinnati.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Twins

Follow all the free agent moves with the CBSSports.com Free Agent Tracker 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 4:25 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 5:43 pm
 

News, notes from final day of Winter Meetings

By Matt Snyder

MLB Winter Meetings
DALLAS -- Other than the two gigantic signings Thursday morning, the activity at the Winter Meetings has slowed to a crawl as everything wraps up. Still, there is never a complete void of buzz, so here are some of the latest news and notes from the media room, courtesy of CBSSports.com senior writers Scott Miller and Danny Knobler.

• The Marlins are going to be in on top remaining free agent Prince Fielder and Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes. One thing to keep in mind, the Marlins were ready to spend almost $100 million on C.J. Wilson, so there's no reason to believe they're done spending -- or at least trying to spend.

• One Nationals person said there's a "95 percent chance" prospect Bryce Harper opens the season with the big-league club.

• The Angels are not trading anyone. They're all in with what they have. They are expecting Kendrys Morales to start the season injured and Mark Trumbo can either play third base or be the designated hitter.

• The Reds are heavily pursuing starting pitching via trade, with their top targets being Jair Jurrjens and a few guys from the Rays' staff. No real progress was made during the meetings, however.

Also of note:

Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports the Rockies have become a serious suitor for free agent outfielder/corner infielder Michael Cuddyer. The Twins have reportedly offered Cuddyer three years and $25 million, but Renck says the Rockies are willing to go three years as well. 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 30, 2011 10:55 pm
 

Twins want to decide Morneau's position soon

Justin Morneau

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Wednesday said the team is considering moving Justin Morneau from first base to designated hitter -- something that would also allow Joe Mauer to play more at first base in an attempt to keep him fresh.

Morenau, who missed the second half of the 2010 season after suffering a concussion, played in just 69 games in 2011, while still battling the after effects of his concussion. He didn't play after diving for a ball on Aug. 28 and felt similar symptoms as his more serious concussions, despite landing on his shoulder, not his head. That had to scare the Twins, who have Morneau under contract through 2013 with $28 million due to the 30-year-old.

Speaking with ESPN 1500-AM in Minnesota on Wednesday, Gardenhire said the team would likely make a decision on Monreau's position soon.

"One of the things Terry [Ryan] and I talked about is making sure before we get too deep in this thing [is] what we're going to do with Morny," Gardenhire said (via the Star Tribune). "Where he is going to play, if it is DH, if it is first base. Morny has to eventually tell us what's right for him or I'll make the decision for him and we will go from there. If he can't decide and we talk to the doctors and they give me information where I think the best thing for him to do is to DH and protect him as much as possible, then that is what we will do.

"First thing, you talk to Morny and let him do the doctor things and go from there."

Gardenhire said he's been talking to Morneau via text message. He also said the team is making "a mad effort" to re-sign outfielder Michael Cuddyer and hoped to retain Matt Capps as the team's closer.

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Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 1:38 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins



By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no waivers, no minor- or major-league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. 

For years, the Minnesota Twins were the model of how to build a consistent winner in a small market. From 2001-2010, the Twins appeared in the playoffs six times and recorded just one losing season. But the wheels fell off in 2011, with a mixture of bad fortune and bad pitching. The Twins have two former MVPs in their lineup, but it would be tough to find two former MVPs who did less in 2011 than Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Those two homegrown players were supposed to be cornerstones for the franchise, but their performance last season was more fitting a tombstone. The team's fortunes, for better or worse, will be tied to those two for the next few years.

Lineup

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Michael Cuddyer, 3B
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Torii Hunter, RF
6. Jason Kubel, LF
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Danny Valencia, 2B
9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Matt Garza
2. Nick Blackburn
3. Kevin Slowey
4. Brian Duensing
5. Anthony Swarzak

Bullpen

Closer - Jesse Crain
Set up - LaTroy Hawkins, J.C. Romero, Pat Neshek, Glen Perkins, Grant Balfour, Peter Moylan

Notable Bench Players

A.J. Pierzynski, Ben Revere, Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe.

What's Good?

With Ramos and Pierzynski on the roster, there's zero reason for Mauer to get anywhere near catching gear -- unless it's for another commercial. With Mauer freed of pitching duties, he can concentrate on first base and Justin Morneau doesn't have to worry about playing in the field. Even though Morneau is a very good defensive first baseman, keeping him off the field could keep him on the field. Last year he suffered concussion-like symptoms after merely diving for a ball. Limiting his risks for a recurrence of head injuries should be a top priority for the Twins, and the easiest way to do that solves the team's other big problem, getting the most out of their long-term deal with Mauer. While the Twins don't have anyone on this list with a large number of saves on their resume, there are a ton of good relievers.

What's Not?

It's a good thing the team has good relievers, because they're going to need them -- and even more than the seven listed above. The rotation, after Garza, is shaky. That rotation isn't going to get much help from its defense, either. The roster makeup requires several position shuffles, including Cuddyer to third, a position he's played, but is not too keen on playing. The Twins also have to put Nishioka at shortstop. Although he played there some in 2011, the team signed Jamey Carroll to play shortstop every day in 2012 for a reason.

Comparison to real 2011

Well, if you thought it couldn't get much worse in Minnesota than it did in 2011, it may with this lineup and rotation. Minnesota went 63-99 in 2011, and it probably breaks the 100-loss barrier with this squad, but don't expect them to be historically bad, so it'd probably only cost four-to-eight wins in my unscientific research. Either way, it's an ugly summer in Minneapolis.

Up next: Pittsburgh Pirates

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 11:30 pm
 

Phillies 'in serious pursuit' of Michael Cuddyer

By Matt Snyder

Earlier Friday evening, reports surfaced that Jim Thome had agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Phillies. On the heels of that, Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly is now reporting that the Phillies are "in serious pursuit" of utility player Michael Cuddyer.

Cuddyer, 32, has played his entire 11-year career for the Twins. He's played everywhere except shortstop and catcher in a major-league game before (yes, he even has one inning on the hill under his belt), but he's best used at the corner outfield spots or first base. Team that with the fact that Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon and left fielder Raul Ibanez is a free agent, and Cuddyer appears to be a perfect fit. He could fill in at first base while Howard recovers, if Thome can't handle the position defensively (which is a decent bet), or serve as the everyday left fielder throughout the season.

Cuddyer made the All-Star team for the first time in 2011. He hit .284 with 20 home runs, 70 RBI, 70 runs, 11 stolen bases and an .805 OPS. He has the reputation as a high-character player and would absolutely be a fit for the Phillies. Oh, and if it matters, word is that Cuddyer and Thome are good friends.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com