During a 1500-ESPN radio interview yesterday manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins “are making a mad effort” to re-sign free agent Michael Cuddyer, adding that “both sides are talking.”
Cuddyer previously visited the Phillies and has reportedly drawn interest from several other teams, and if he signs elsewhere the Type A free agent would fetch the Twins a first-round pick and a supplemental first-round pick.
Cuddyer is beloved in Minnesota, with constant talk about his great leadership and clubhouse presence, but he’ll turn 33 years old during spring training and his actual on-field performance isn’t star-caliber.
This year Cuddyer hit .284 with 20 homers and an .805 OPS in 139 games and his career OPS is .794, which is good but not great for a corner outfielder/first baseman with mediocre defensive chops. There are certainly scenarios in which re-signing Cuddyer makes sense for the Twins, but a three- or four-year deal in excess of $10 million per season would be awfully risky without carrying much upside.
If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.
“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.
Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.