The Mariners are suddenly in the mix for Michael Cuddyer

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Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reported earlier tonight that at least one unidentified club was in the hunt for free agent Michael Cuddyer. Well, now we know who that might be.

Morosi and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com are both reporting that the Mariners are now talking to Cuddyer.

We haven’t heard much about Seattle this offseason and it seems like an odd fit on the surface. While Cuddyer could help at multiple positions, the presence of Ichiro means he’d probably spend a lot of time in left field. He’s only played there nine times in his 11-year major league career. Besides, it’s hard to imagine they’d be willing to meet his asking price, which Heyman suggests is now north of $30 million.

Cuddyer appeared likely to end up with the Rockies after it was reported earlier tonight that Josh Willingham had agreed to a multi-year contract with the Twins, but things have changed in the past few hours. The Willingham deal isn’t done yet and Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune adds that talks with Cuddyer aren’t dead. The most likely scenario is that they have given him one last chance to accept their proposed three-year, $24 million offer. Colorado reportedly has the biggest known offer on the table.

Cuddyer, who turns 33 in March, batted .284/.346/.459 with 20 home runs, 70 RBI, 11 stolen bases and an .805 OPS over 584 plate appearances this past season.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.