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.
Update (5:04 PM EST): The White Sox will receive pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning from the Nationals, per Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. MLB Pipeline rated them No. 1, 3, and 6 in the Nationals’ minor league system.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Nationals are close to acquiring outfielder Adam Eaton from the White Sox. He notes that outfielder Victor Robles, the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is not included in the deal.
Eaton, 28, is signed to a very team-friendly contract. He’ll earn $4 million in 2017, $6 million in ’18, and $8.4 million in ’19. His controlling team then has a club option worth $9.5 million in 2020 with a $1.5 million buyout and a $10.5 million club option in ’21 with a $1.5 million buyout.
This past season, Eaton was worth 3.9 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference after playing significantly above-average defense while batting .284/.362/.428 with 14 home runs, 59 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 706 plate appearances.
If the deal goes through, the Nationals would move Trea Turner from center field to shortstop. Meanwhile, the White Sox continue their teardown after trading Chris Sale to the Red Sox on Tuesday.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Marlins have signed veteran catcher A.J. Ellis to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.
Ellis, 35, began the 2016 season with the Dodgers but went to the Phillies in the Carlos Ruiz trade near the end of August. Overall, he hit .216/.301/.298 in 196 plate appearances.
Ellis will back up J.T. Realmuto behind the dish.