Via Joe Christensen and Amelia Rayno, beat writers with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
The Twins have no plans to trade Michael Cuddyer this season even if they fall from contention, a team official said Friday, adding that an effort will be made to re-sign Cuddyer this fall.
Cuddyer is an impending free agent and has around $5 million remaining on his $10.5 million salary for 2011. Most fourth-place teams would be looking to dump his contract for a package of projectable young talent.
But Cuddyer has also been the Twins’ best hitter, and Minnesota entered Sunday’s action only six games back of the Indians in the American League Central. Trading him, in some ways, would be like throwing in the towel.
Cuddyer, 32, is batting .296/.372/.467 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI through 363 plate appearances this season. He did tell CBS Sports’ Scott Miller last month that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.