While the Phillies are close to wrapping up a new contract with closer Ryan Madson, they are also moving aggressively on another one of their primary targets in free agency.
According to Tom Sredenschek of FOX 29 in Philadelphia, Michael Cuddyer was in town today for a meet-and-greet with the Phillies.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com confirms Sredenschek’s report while adding that Cuddyer toured Citizens Bank Park and had lunch with Phillies officials. He also met manager Charlie Manuel, who flew in from Florida.
We learned over the weekend that the Phillies were “in serious pursuit” of Cuddyer while Jim Thome said during his press conference Sunday that he has done his part to make a recruiting pitch.
Cuddyer, who turns 33 in March, batted .284/.346/.459 with 20 home runs, 70 RBI and an .805 OPS over 584 plate appearances this season. He appears to be an ideal fit for the Phillies, who could use him in the outfield and at first base if Ryan Howard misses the start of the 2012 season following surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. He also has experience at second base and the hot corner.
Cuddyer’s asking price isn’t exactly clear, but he reportedly turned down a two-year, $16 million extension with the Twins in August. He qualifies as a Type A free agent this winter, so the Phillies would surrender their first-round pick for 2012 (No. 31 overall) to Minnesota if an agreement is reached.
Rick Morissey of the Chicago Sun-Times published an article on Sunday giving a bit of insight into Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. When Epsten was younger, he dabbled in sportswriting, but quickly realized the trade wasn’t for him.
As Morissey details, when Epstein was 19 years old writing for Yale’s student newspaper, he wrote an article suggesting the school’s football coach should be fired during what would become a 3-7 season. Epstein was told during the meeting that one writer would defend the coach and one would call for his job. “It was a lesson in the way that the world of journalism sometimes works. It was an eye-opener for me. I regret it, and I’ve happily moved on.”
Epstein continued, “I realized I didn’t want to be a sportswriter when I was interning with the Orioles back in ’92, ’93, ’94. I did do a lot of media-relations stuff, and I saw that the life of a sportswriter is pretty lonely. You kind of work by yourself, sit there by yourself in the press box, go back to the hotel bar. Not to generalize.” He added, “But I really respect writing and respect sportswriters.”
He’s not wrong, and he seems to have found his calling as a front office executive. His Cubs are back in the World Series for the first time since 1945.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday, “Got a little too close to [Francisco Lindor] during the celebration!! Freak accident but should be good to go by Tuesday! #cantkeepmeoutofthisgame!”
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Terry Francona said Kipnis is dealing with a low ankle sprain, but he’s expected to be ready to go when the World Series begins on Tuesday. Kipnis went through fielding drills on Sunday.
Kipnis is hitting .167/.219/.367 with a pair of homers and four RBI in eight games this postseason.