On Michael Cuddyer’s future with the Rockies

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The Rockies decided to ante up $31.5 million for Michael Cuddyer’s age 33-35 seasons on Friday, so I thought it’d be fun to look at what some similarly productive players have done in those years.

Cuddyer had a 117+ OPS from 2009-11, his age 30-32 seasons. Since 1995, there have been 10 other corner outfielders with an OPS in the 115-120 range and at least 1,000 plate appearances from ages 30-32. Here they are, along with their OPS+s for ages 30-35, with 33-35 in bold.

Dante Bichette: 111, 129, 112, 103, 108, 102 (104 from 33-35)
Ron Gant: 145, 125, 83, 114, 96, 106 (104 from 33-35)
Geronimo Berroa: 116, 117, 120, 62, 56, 74 (62 from 33-35)
Matt Stairs: 131, 132, 92, 115, 118, 142 (125 from 33-35)
Tim Salmon: 119, 135, 98, 133, 122, 67 (118 from 33-35)
Rusty Greer: 124, 110, 104, 91, –, — (91 at 33)
Kevin Millar: 131, 110, 117, 98, 111, 106 (105 from 33-35)
Ichiro Suzuki: 130, 113, 106, 122, 102, 129 (117 from 33-35)
David Dellucci: 96, 126, 123, 68, 136, 40 (80 from 33-35)
Milton Bradley: 161, 100, 80, 91, –, — (91 at 33 in 2011)

So, this isn’t really a list of similar talents, but it does illustrate what tends to happen to above average regulars as they start to get into their mid-30s. Occasionally you’ll get a Stairs, but the players here most similar to Cuddyer — Bichette, Gant and Millar — all turned into borderline regulars at 33-34.

And that’s the big problem with the Rockies’ signing. It’s arguable whether Cuddyer was even worth $31.5 million from age 30-32, and he was a far better bet for those three seasons than he is for these next three.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.