As a fan of the San Francisco Giants, I have this recurring nightmare. It’s the winter meetings and I’m sitting right beside Brian Sabean at a press conference to announce his newest acquisition. I know I have to stop the words from coming out of his mouth, but I’m frozen by fear, incapable of moving. Suddenly I look off to stage right of the impromptu podium and there, walking up the steps in a brand spanking new Giants jersey, is none other than Michael Cuddyer.
Like all the most frightening things, it’s scary because it’s possible. After investing too much of the payroll in their bullpen and spending far too much money locking up Aubrey Huff last off season, the Giants will have a limited budget to spend on free agents this winter. Unfortunately, the team’s offensive needs are inversely proportional to that minuscule budget room.
One of the cheaper offensive upgrades available with an element of name recognition is Michael Cuddyer. The 33 year old outfielder (and occasional pitcher) is coming off the best season of his career according to fWAR, but that’s only three wins above replacement. It’s difficult for any sane or rational person to imagine Cuddyer improving on that over the next three years or whatever the terms of a free agent contract would grant him.
He’s a fine baseball player who is going to get overpaid this off season thanks to a combination of false hype and an underwhelming corner outfield market. In other words, a seemingly ideal target for the San Francisco Giants.
Fortunately for the bookkeepers on the West Coast, the Philadelphia Phillies, who have already suggested that they’ll keep Dominic Brown in Triple A for most of next season, see a potential upgrade over Raul Ibanez in Cuddyer. Several reports over the weekend had the Phillies in hot pursuit of the former Minnesota Twin. Most recently, the team’s newest acquisition, a former Minnesota Twin himself, Jim Thome admitted to his own recruiting efforts.
We’ve texted a little bit. We’ve talked. All I can say about Michael is he’s a great player. He’s a winner. Every player that sees the way the Phillies have done things over the last seven or eight years, they’ve set the bar very, very high. Guys around baseball would love to come here. When you win, you create a lot of good things. I’m sure we will talk going forward.
Then, please, by all means, Philadelphia. He’s all yours.
Considering Cuddyer turned down a Twins extension offer before the season had finished for two years and $16 million, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him sign for as much as $30 million over three years. That`s simply too much for a player at his age that has never put up superstar numbers, but instead has gained a name for himself through supposedly gritty play in Minnesota.