Struggling Michael Cuddyer expects to deal with knee injury for the rest of the season

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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.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.