Contributors to the problem of playing Cuddyer are numerous.
1. His contract.
2. His willingness to play anywhere else on the field to help the team.
3. His flashes of offensive brilliance in ’06 and ’09.
4. The lack of depth at the position in the organization.
5. His personality (call it The Jeff Francoeur Effect).
6. It does help get Kubel and Thome into the lineup.
I’m a bit worried that after this season, Cuddyer will be re-signed by the Twins. Like I said in #5, he’s similar to Frenchy in the sense that while his negatives outweigh his positives, it’s the pros that get the most attention. I can only hope that if he is re-signed, the Twins are smarter with the type of contract they give him.
With all of the outfield potential in the Twin’s farm system I would be surprised if Twin’s resigned Cuddyer. Personally I think that they will let Cuddyer and Kuble go next year. The 2011 outfield would be Span, Revere, Young (left to right).
However, you are right that if they do hold on to anyone out of loyalty or whatever that Cuddyer would be the guy. I just hope that the refusal to sign Nick Punto this offseason (another Gardenhire favorite) shows that maybe the FO is looking beyond past performance and loyalty to the team when making signing decisions.
“This is compounded by the fact that the Twins are largely a ground ball staff.”
Ok, I’m fairly sure that there’s a conspiracy that requires anyone writing an article about the Twins’s bad defenders to write that their bad defense is compounded(!) by the tendency of their pitchers to have balls hit disproportionately at those fielders. This has been an annual affair with the Twins’s bad corner outfielders and supposed extreme fly-ball pitchers, but now that one of their bad outfielders is a bad infielder, all of a sudden they’re an extreme ground-ball staff!
Anyway, it’s a weak, weak argument even at the true extremes (extreme fly-ball staff + extremely bad outfield defense, e.g.; it just doesn’t “compound” the issue much at all), but especially when the team is, like the Twins, not really extreme at all in either way.
I would be shocked if they re-signed Cuddy (as we lovingly call him here in MN). Not to mention Revere and Hicks knocking on the door, but as early as next season, I think it’s altogether possible that Mauer is either in RF or LF most of the time. Cuddy will sign with a team looking for a RH bat that will bank on him being more ’06 than most every other year. He seems to be a great guy, which will help him stay in the league longer, but he is clearly trending toward the sunset portion of his career.
Look, I see the knocks on Cuddyer, but we are also talking about a League Average range hitter who can fill in almost anywhere you need him. That’s a big deal for a club.
(I would like to add, I hope they manage to find another 5 starts at 3rd for him so he keeps his now extreme fantasy flexibility for next season too.)
Plus, he has hit .286/.355/.446/.801 with a 304 BAbip over his last 15 games – similar to expectations for him, so… And as far as last season
.235/.316/.353/.669 with .275 BAbip – Aug 1-14, 2010
.281/.339/.421/.760 with .313 BAbip – Aug 15-31, 2010
.255/.283/.314/.597 with .295 BAbip – Sept 1-14, 2010
.263/.338/.439/.777 with .289 BAbip – Sept 15-season end
He had two bad stretches late last season, but was fairly strong between them – posting numbers similar to (and even a bit higher then) his overall .271/.336/.417/.753. If he had had said bad stretches early in the season instead of late, the entire “Since the start of last August” goes away and we instead have a guy who just didn’t hit in the first 5 or 6 games of 2011.
Overall, I think you are making much ado about nothing on that front.
Michael Cuddyer is what you get when you take Mickey Hatcher and trade quality defense for double-digit homers and a face that makes the farm girls swoon. In other words, the most perfect Midwestern baseball playing non-catcher specimen in the universe.
Comment by Small Sample Goodness — April 26, 2011 @ 6:46 pm
I’m hoping Joe Benson is your CF, Span your LF and Kubel your RF next year. I’m hoping Nishi is back and healthy for most of the year and is the 2B next year and for the majority of this year. I’m hoping Cuddy is not back on this roster, unless it is as RH bat off the bench and DH against lefties for not much money.
I think this Cuddy at 2B thing is short term until Nishi is back. Unfortunately, I think Gardy will stick Nishi at SS (putting us out of our Casilla misery) and keep Cuddy at 2B. The MIF is a black hole in MN right now.
Comment by mike wants wins — April 26, 2011 @ 6:58 pm
But they are really bad at outfield and infield defense, so either way the pitching staff is screwed
Last year the Twins lead in UZR at almost every infield position. Outfield… not so much.
This year, they lost every one of those players.
Comment by Barkey Walker — April 26, 2011 @ 10:16 pm
I don’t think there is any reason to believe that current defensive stats are better than a managers assessment. UZR is OK at best.
Comment by Barkey Walker — April 26, 2011 @ 10:20 pm
I think Cuddy is still OK offensively if he can stay healthy. He had a hand injury in 2008 that affected his power and last year was playing with a knee injury. He got off to a slow start this year but I think that can be partly attributed to missing over the first half of spring training after having wart removal surgery on his foot.
@ Nick: Sorry, my listing of Span, Revere, and Benson was not supposed to reflect where I think they’ll play in the future. If that was the case, I would have said Revere in LF, Span in CF, and Benson in RF.
Actually, it does compound the problem. More balls directed at fielders who convert a low percentage of them into outs = more hits on balls in play than if the staff’s tenancies were neutral or directed away from the porous part of the defense.
People are making a big deal about his poor offensive start. He’s had bad BABIP luck so far. He’s the same rate of grounders this year, and his LD is a little lower then other years, but he’s really not that far off his career numbers to suggest his poor start is anything but luck/Injury
An alternate interpretation could be that his past years were luck. Maybe his real talent is somewhere in between. Maybe he’s on the wrong side of 30 and those grounders aren’t quite as hard hit, those fly balls dont travel quite as far, and he’s not quite as fast as he once was to leg out some extra bases/hits.
Or, maybe he has just been unlucky.
Comment by glassSheets — April 27, 2011 @ 10:09 am
Read “The Machine” last month where Sparky Anderson waited until the Reds were on the road to start Rose at 3B instead of LF since the GM was against it.
Given the current roster (Tolbert and Hughes are replacement level), I think it makes some sense if you’re getting Kubel and Thome into the lineup against a right-hander, but to sacrifice the defense at 2B to start those guys against lefties is short sighted.
The Twins radio announcers did say that we should start the “Jason Kubel Gold Glove watch” right after he made an “outstanding” running catch last week in Baltimore. Never mind that Ichiro would have been camped under it and roasting marshmallows on the same play.
Yeah, that’s the idea and it’s true…to a really small extent. Figure out the difference between a high FB (or GB) staff and the league average. Figure out how many more chances that will result in for whatever bad fielders your talking about. Figure out how many of those chances will be foiled by the bad fielder’s badness. You will be underwhelmed. Bad defense is bad, but the degree to which it is compounded by a pitching staff’s batted-ball tendencies–whatever they are–is trivial. There just isn’t that much variance in batted-ball tendencies at the team level.