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.
Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.
ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:
Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”
Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.