After signing a two-year, $21 million contract with the Mets over the winter, Michael Cuddyer struggled to the tune of a .244/.294/.367 batting line during the first half while dealing with a nagging injury to his left knee. The All-Star break gave the 36-year-old some time to rest, but he’s being benched in favor of Kirk Nieuwenhuis tonight against the Cardinals. And his outlook for the second half doesn’t sound particularly promising.
Cuddyer is healthy enough to remain on the active roster, but it’s not like he has done much good when he’s in the lineup on a regular basis, so he’s at risk for falling into a part-time role at the very least. This approach might help him manage the injury and be more productive when he does play, but it’s not exactly what the Mets had in mind when they gave up a first-round pick to sign him over the winter.
While Nieuwenhuis hit three home runs in the final game before the All-Star break, he can’t be considered a legitimate answer for a corner outfield spot. The Mets are right in the thick of things for a chance to make the postseason, so it will be interesting to see if they finally answer the fans’ pleas to acquire a big bat in a trade leading up to July 31. Promoting prospect Michael Conforto is another possibility, though the team appears against that idea for now.
MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.
Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.
The entire camp was placed in quarantine.
“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”
Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.
The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.
“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”