Didn’t Cuddyer play quite a few games at 2B last year? I would think his bat would be extremely valuable. If he could play adequate defense at 2B and 3B, combined that wtih his versatility in the OF and 1B, especially in the NL with double switches and late game replacements.
If Cuddyer is strictly an OF, then he is probably being overpaid. However, his flexibility is worth something.
Normalizing to 1350 innings (9*150), Cuddyer has been worth about -6 defensive runs in RF, -7 at 1B, -20 at 3B, and -18 at 2B, using DRS. The position difference between 3B and RF is about 10 runs (I’m using Dave’s 2008 post here, perhaps that’s outdated?). So, my takeaway is that Cuddyer is probably worth about .5 runs worse at 3B than RF for a season. Obviously, you have to trust the DRS numbers here, which may not be the most accurate.
I imagine the Rockies think they have a 2.5 WAR RF who can double as a 2.0 WAR 3B (and even a 1.5-2.0 WAR 2B) if needed. Obviously, as he ages this deal might not look so good, but he certainly looks nice compared to last year’s black hole (-1.5 WAR). Of course, their other current 3B options could probably improve on that, and if they acquire Prado then Cuddyer is a fulltime RF with infield injury replacement value.
Comment by guesswork — December 16, 2011 @ 3:04 pm
The only reasons a MLB team should have him play 2B or 3B is because of poor roster construction and noboy else owns an infielder’s glove.
Comment by glassSheets — December 16, 2011 @ 3:38 pm
I agree wholeheartedly actually, though my argument is a bit different. Note this includes tons of estimates, guesses, and over simplifications, but I think it makes the point:
Let’s take a SS for example. The average team hits about 2000 ground balls a year (correct me if I’m wrong, it may be closer to 2500), so the SS may field about 600, again this is a guess though it won’t affect my argument much. Now, let’s pretend he sees three ‘zones,’ each of which gets 200 balls hit to it. He can filed 90% of the ones in the middle zone, but only 50% in either of the two side zones. From probability theory, we know the variance will be
200*.5*.5 + 200*.9*.1 + 200*.5*.5 = 118
Hence the standard error for this SS is about 11 plays per season. This translates to a range of over 40 plays.
Now let’s assume if you make the play, it’s an out, and if you don’t it’s a single. An out is worth about -.25 runs and a single is worth about .5 runs. That means the range is worth a difference of 30 runs! So if a player has a good season followed by a bad, it’s not crazy to see a fluctuation of 30 runs.
I know these numbers are off, but changing them won’t affect much. Now let’s assume we have the world’s greatest SS, who makes 90% of all his plays, whichever zone they are it. For 600 plays, we expect a range of about 20 runs! It’s smaller, but still significant.
Of course, the range of about 40 plays is not uniform, and we only expect players to perform at the tails on rare occasions, so the actual year to year fluctuations would be about 5 to 10 runs on average, which I believe is pretty accurate for UZR numbers.
Comment by guesswork — December 16, 2011 @ 4:14 pm
He plays above average defense in RF. It would be best to play him there. He’s not quite fast enough to play 2B. I watched every Twins game last year..
Cuddyer is a good defender in RF. You guys really should put down your stat sheets and watch a couple games. His range isn’t breathtaking, but he can field anything he gets to and has one of the best outfield arms in the game. Seriously sit down and watch the guy play. The numbers lie..
while i agree with your conclusion that willingham is underpaid, you’re confusing being a “bad” guy with being a bad clubhouse guy. those are two distinct topics and you’re viewing them as one. also, not to trash josh willingham because most charity is inherently good, but the current tax code incentivizes foundations like this.
still, it’s a good question.
Comment by cable fixer — December 16, 2011 @ 5:13 pm
@Lindner – I think the key take away from your point is ‘He can field anything he gets to’. As a Twins fan for many years, I will agree with you in that sense. The knock against Cuddyer is not that he can’t catch a fly ball or throw someone out at home plate, it’s that he won’t get to nearly as many balls as someone either younger or more athletic (like a Denard Span or Ben Revere for instance)
Comment by Traviscsb — December 16, 2011 @ 8:29 pm
The way the Rockies have constructed their outfield they don’t need a rangy athletic type in RF. They have Fowler and Gonzalez in CF and LF who cover the gaps and alleys as well as anyone. A solid fielder with a +arm fits their needs perfectly. Too often Seth Smith let singles turn into doubles and triples due to botched attempts at sliding catches.
Also, the question is ultimately; “Will Cuddyer be 5 million dollars better than Ty Wigginton?” My guess is that he is.