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.