May 24, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) and right fielder Michael Cuddyer (3) celebrate a victory against the Atlanta Braves in the ninth inning at Turner Field. The Rockies defeated the Braves 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies shocked most of the baseball world when they extended a $15.3-million qualifying offer to free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer last week, with many observers (including me) wondering what they were thinking offering that much cash to a soon-to-be 36-year-old with lots of injury problems. After the New York Mets signed Cuddyer to a two-year deal worth $21 million, as tweeted by Joel Sherman, the Rox are looking pretty smart.
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As Steve Adams at MLBTradeRumors.com points out, the Mets must forfeit the 15th overall draft pick next spring for the privilege of signing Cuddyer, while the Rockies gain an extra pick at the end of the first round.
Cuddyer has not played more than 140 games in a season since 2010, and he made it into only 49 with the Rockies. While his slash line from the last couple of years looks great — an OPS+ of 136 in 2013 and 149 in 2014 — consider that he played in a TOTAL of 179 games in those two season, and that his home games were all played at Coors Field.
In other words, Cuddyer is due for a significant drop-off in production away from the Mile-High climes, and the Mets will pay dearly for what seems destined to become an albatross of a player and a contract.
At least fans of the Cincinnati Reds can breathe easy, because Cuddyer won’t be coming to the Riverfront this summer to help out with the hole in left field. He might have actually done some good for Cincinnati, but not a $21 million. For that amount of cash, the Reds (and the Mets), would be better off splurging for one year of a guy who needs a prove-me deal to re-establish himself. Maybe someone like Colby Rasmus, who is young enough to help a team in 2015 and to provide an extra draft pick when he walks again in 2016.
Rasmus would also cost a good deal less than $21 million over that one year.