All along the thinking has been that Michael Cuddyer wants to a) stay with the Twins and b) land a three-year deal. According to Jon Heyman, the Twins have done their part, offering the right-handed-hitting outfielder a cool $25 million through 2014. Cuddyer, though, has yet to accept.
With Cuddyer’s return in limbo, the Twins are talking to their backup option, Josh Willingham. Willingham offers a better bet, but he’s not so versatile and he comes with durability concerns. Willingham, likewise, wants a three-year deal, and while he’s a better bet than Cuddyer to be productive in 2014, his history of back problems would make him a risky signing for three years.
One would think Cuddyer will end up accepting the Twins’ offer if $25 million is really where there at. His preference for Minnesota has never seemed like an act, and it’s not as though his market is all that strong. The Phillies pursued him at first, but they’ve backed off, and while a lot of people have tried to propose the Red Sox as a match, it’s doubtful Boston would give him that kind of contract.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.
It’s been a tough season for the mythology of Jonny Gomes‘ veteran clubhouse savior reputation.
First he signed with the rebuilding Braves and performed poorly while Atlanta fell apart after a surprisingly decent start. Then he was traded to the Royals, for whom he played just 12 games and hit .167. And now Kansas City has left Gomes off the ALDS roster.
It makes sense, though. Gomes’ only real use to the Royals would be as a pinch-hitter versus left-handed pitching, but manager Ned Yost rarely pinch-hits and will no doubt be more willing to use 25th man Terrance Gore as a pinch-runner in the late innings.
Beyond that, not many surprises on the Royals’ roster for their series against the Astros. They went with 11 pitchers, which means both Chris Young and Kris Medlen are on the roster. Jeremy Guthrie is not.