The New York Mets have signed former Colorado Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer to a two-year deal.
MLB.com’s Paul Hagen broke the news on Nov. 10:
“In signing veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer, to Mets are letting everybody know that they’re transitioning from rebuilding to expecting to win next season.
“‘Yeah, I think [general manager Sandy Alderson] has talked about that we’re looking to turn the corner here and start to compete in 2015. I think this is a message that we’re going to be aggressive. Right out of the box, we had a guy we liked and we went and got him,’ assistant GM John Ricco said at the Arizona Biltmore at the annual General Managers Meetings to heat up Monday.
“‘I don’t think it’s any secret that we’re looking to improve offensively, and there aren’t a lot of options out there on the free-agent market or even the trade market. So we thought this was a way to clearly upgrade our team and our lineup.’
“Cuddyer posted a brief video on Instagram in which he stood in front of a Mets backdrop.
“‘Hey, Mets fans,’ Cuddyer said. ‘Michael Cuddyer here…Just wanted to say how excited I am to be in New York playing for you guys. I can’t wait to see you out in Spring Training and then obviously here when you get to CitiField.’
“Cuddyer turned down a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Rockies before Monday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline to sign a two-year deal with the Mets. That means Colorado will receive a compensation pick between the first and second rounds of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft, and the Mets will lose the 15th pick in the draft, as well as the draft bonus money associated with that slot.
“‘We talk a lot about not giving up picks. In this case, we looked at it, did the analysis and decided this player was worth it. We had a pretty good sense of what was out there. We’re pretty happy that we addressed one of our biggest needs and, although we sacrificed a draft pick, didn’t give up any of our current talent,’ Ricco said. ‘We’re still in a great position to have a productive meeting here at the [GM] Meetings and see how else we can improve the team.
“‘Certainly we value our draft pick and would like to hold onto them. But, at the same time, we’re looking to win. So in this case, we decided that the value of Michael Cuddyer was worth it.’
“Cuddyer, 35, is a two-time All-Star and was the 2013 National League batting champion where he hit a career-best .331 in 130 games for Colorado. A veteran of 14 Major League seasons with the Rockies and (Minnesota) Twins, Cuddyer, who throws and hits right-handed, owns a .279 career average in 1,419 games.
“‘Michael is a tremendous addition to the middle of our lineup,’ Alderson said in a statement. ‘He is a proven offensive threat who also brings versatility in the field with the ability to play multiple positions.'”
— New York Mets (@Mets) November 10, 2014
ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin says Cuddyer’s two-year deal is worth $21 million. Cuddyer, a childhood friend of Mets third baseman David Wright, passed his physical on Nov. 10:
“Cuddyer, 35, will earn $21 million in the deal — $8.5 million in 2015 and $12.5 million in 2016 — according to a source. Cuddyer faced a Monday deadline to accept a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Colorado Rockies.
“…Cuddyer passed a physical Monday.
“‘He took a physical today. We’ve looked at all the injuries and there was nothing there that we’re too concerned about,’ Ricco said. ‘And the age is the age. Certainly there’s risk associated with any signing. And we believe in the player and think he’s going to be a real good fit for us.
“Cuddyer should join Curtis Granderson and Gold Glove center fielder Juan Lagares as the primary outfielders. Because Cuddyer has manned right field during his career, it appears likely Granderson will shift to left field in 2015. Granderson said last week he should be willing to shift if the Mets asked.
“‘I am flexible,’ Granderson said. ‘Even with (the) Detroit (Tigers), I remember when Cameron Maybin came up and made his debut at Yankee Stadium, I said, ‘Hey, I’ve played left field. He hasn’t. If you need me to move, I will. That’s always been something that’s been a part of my career. I’ve got the ability to move around. Just let me know.’
“The right-handed Cuddyer also has logged significant time at first base. The Mets hope Lucas Duda, who slugged 30 homers this past season, can emerge as a full-time player at that position. However, if Duda continues to struggle against left-handed pitching, it is conceivable Cuddyer could see action at first base as well. Duda hit .180 with two homers in 111 at-bats against southpaws in 2014.
“Cuddyer is a childhood friend of Mets captain David Wright. Both grew up in Norfolk, Virginia.
“Essentially, Cuddyer accepted $5.7 million more from the Mets for two years that he could have earned with the Rockies for one more year. Ricco said he could not speculate on Cuddyer’s motivation, but acknowledged the Mets being on the brink of contention and Cuddyer’s friendship with Wright as likely factors in the decision.
“‘I actually wasn’t surprised that they offered,’ Ricco said about the Rockies’ $15.3 million bid to retain Cuddyer. ‘And it certainly factored in the decision. But we decided to go forward and sign him.'”
Cuddyer has amassed 1,424 hits, 187 home runs and 753 RBIs on a .279 batting average in 1,419 regular-season games for the Twins and Rockies, per ESPN stats.