Monday, December 14, 2015

Cuddyer hangs 'em up

Michael Cuddyer turns a double play for the
Twins in one of his stints at second base.
Michael Cuddyer announced his retirement as a player during the weekend with this piece on the Players Tribune website.

Cuddy is walking away from the final year of the two-year contract he signed with the New York Mets and giving up some $12 million, which probably should tell us how much his body hurts. He hasn't had a season without a DL visit since 2010, and he was obviously struggling in the postseason last October for the Mets.

Fifteen seasons major league seasons, seven trips to the playoffs, two All-Star teams, one batting title (with the Rockies), one 100-RBI season (2006), one 30-homer season (2009), seven positions (all but shortstop and catcher). Not a bad run at all.

He gave the Twins -- once they gave the former first-rounder a shot at regular playing time in the last half of the 2000s -- some right-handed thump to counterbalance a very left-handed lineup. He played at seven positions, none of them at a high level, but well enough not to be a significant hindrance.

One of the great "what ifs" of the Ron Gardenhire era: What if Gardy had followed through on making Cuddyer a second baseman? When Gardy experimented with him there, it was easy to imagine a new Jeff Kent -- lacking in range but making up for it in other ways.

My guess is that Gardenhire shied away from the idea because Cuddyer didn't fit the stereotype for the keystone. And perhaps the manager was right. But second base was pretty much a revolving door for the Twins during the years of Cuddyer in right field.

What next for him? I have long believed that he can/will be a major league manager -- if he wants that kind of job. Broadcasting is also a possibility. But he's made some $80 million playing ball, according to Baseball Reference, and if he just wants to hang with his family he can do that too.

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