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.

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.