Minnesota made a $25 million offer to Michael Cuddyer at least 10 days ago and signed Josh Willingham to replace him yesterday, and now Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Cuddyer “is in agreement” with Colorado on a three-year, $31.5 million deal.
By avoiding any comments to the media and not giving the Twins a decision for more than a week Cuddyer made it pretty clear that he preferred not to return to Minnesota. It seems unlikely that Colorado was his first choice when the offseason began, but few teams appeared willing to give the 33-year-old right fielder a three-year commitment and obviously calling Coors Field home is a nice bonus for any hitter.
And of course $31.5 million is pretty good money, too. Cuddyer, who was the Twins’ first-round pick out of high school in 1997 and played his entire career in Minnesota, hit .284 with 20 homers and an .805 OPS in 139 games this year and has a lifetime .794 mark.
In addition to saving $10 million in the Cuddyer-for-Willingham swap the Twins also receive a pair of compensatory draft picks, although neither will be in the first round thanks to the Rockies going 73-89 in 2011.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.