Yankees Rumors: Is Michael Cuddyer A Short-term Answer?
In 2013, rumors abounded about the Yanks trying to pick up Colorado Rockies OF Michael Cuddyer. At the time, the plan was to replace an injured Curtis Granderson, trying to get Colorado to pick up some of the contract, relinquishing a prized prospect, and mapping out a path where Cuddyer would be a long-term fit on the roster. Going into the 2015 season, it seems that some of these questions, as well as the same player exist (albeit two years older). And now the only thing the Yanks need to give up is the one thing they have more of than everyone – money.
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Cuddyer suffered through an injury-plagued 2014 season (hamstring, leg), however is one year removed from leading the NL in batting (.331) and winning the Silver Slugger. He fits perfectly with the Yankees, positionally as a backup 1B, outfielder, and DH; and age-wise, since he’ll celebrate his 36th birthday during spring training. With the current construct of the roster, flexibility will be essential and Cuddyer could be called upon to be both long and short-term replacements for Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira or Alex Rodriguez.
Coming off a 3-year, $31.5 million contract, Cuddyer will try to look for something comparable – and might find it from teams desperate for right-hand bats and defensive flexibility. Cuddyer has proven to be very serviceable in the NL and in the AL would be able to DH to take a break. For the Yanks, a two-year, $20 million investment could buy them insurance at three positions (four if you count him as an emergency 3B) as pursue (or train-up) middle infielders.
These options make Cuddyer a very attractive alternative for the Yanks. If everything falls through with younger options (Chase Headley?), Cuddyer could be right-handed pop off the bench, part time RF, substitute LF and DH options, and better than the currently rostered insurance for an oft-injured Mark Teixeira.