Long-Term Option?

27 Oct

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

As I was reading through the transcript of the TwinsCentric interview with Twins GM Bill Smith, there were several issues and topics that came up in the 30 minute, 14 page interview. Yesterday, I wrote about the Twins aggressiveness in the international markets. John Bonnes wrote about what happens at the Twins organizational meetings in Ft. Myers. Nick Nelson discussed Smith’s comment on the Joe Mauer situation and how comfortable Smith would be if the Twins and Mauer did not come to an agreement. After re-reading the transcript, several times, there was one other topic that I wanted to discuss.

The topic of Michael Cuddyer and his 2011 club option came up, and this exchange occurred with a typically elusive answer from Bill Smith:

TWINSCENTRIC: You have an option on the 2011 season on Cuddyer’s contract. Have you guys made a decision on that?

SMITH: We’ll let you know.

TWINSCENTRIC: So that hasn’t been announced?

SMITH: No, nothing’s been determined or announced.

TWINSCENTRIC: Does that have to be decided soon?

Smith: After the World Series.

Five days after the conclusion of the World Series, the Twins will have to determine whether to pick up the 2011 option on his contract. The Twins brass must decide whether to pay Cuddyer $10.5 million in 2011 or buy out that contract for $1 million.

Is there really any question that the Twins will pick up the options? I mean, in 2009, Cuddyer hit .276/.344/.520 with 34 doubles, 32 home runs and 95 RBI. He made just $6.75 million. Fangraphs.com indicates that Cuddyer was worth $9.2 million in 2009. In 2010, Cuddyer’s salary will increase to $8.5 million. Michael Cuddyer represents Twins baseball. I realize this is cliché, but it is also accurate. Cuddyer’s intangibles make this an easy decision. But if you look at the FanGraphs, Cuddyer earned $11.3 million in 2006. He earned $8.7 million. In 2008, Cuddyer was hurt. Cuddyer, when healthy, has been a consistent contributor to the Twins. So Cuddyer’s contract should be picked up for several reasons.

So, why not just come out and say that? I mean, what can Cuddyer do to improve or negate his value in the next week or two? What has he done since the Twins season ended?

I can come up with just one reason.

It is possible that the Twins representatives are meeting with Cuddyer and his representatives about the idea of extending his career as a Minnesota Twins player. It is possible that they are working on a deal which would essentially tear up his current contract and work on keeping him around longer, maybe even at a lesser annual salary. Again, Cuddyer is set to make $8.5 million in 2010 with an option at $10.5 million in 2011. He is guaranteed, due to the one million buyout, just $9.5 million.

What if they declined the option year at $10.5 million, but then offered him three more years beyond 2010? Maybe he could make $9 million in 2011, $9.5 million in 2012 and $10 million in 2013? If the Twins could get a deal like this signed in early November, they could add a signing bonus ($3 million?) and pay it now. The Twins have one of their leaders, a right-handed power bat, a perfect representative of Twins baseball through the first several years at Target Field. From Cuddyer’s perspective? Well, instead of being guaranteed just $9.5 million (or even $19 million assuming the option where picked up), he would be guaranteed $37 million and know that he will remain with the only organization that he has known since they drafted him in the first round in 1998.

Now that makes a ton of sense for both sides. That sounds like a Win-Win for all.

What do you think? Does this idea make sense, or am I completely off my rocker? Leave your Comments here.  

And, if you would like to read more of the TwinsCentric interview with Twins GM Bill Smith, it is found in the appendix of the Offseason GM Handbook, which is currently available at TwinsCentric.com. A portion of the interview is included with the free sample which you can find at the same site.

 (Just an quick point for those of you who have already purchased the pdf of the Handbook: we are sending out the new version with the appendix attached. And for those of you who have received the free one-third book, we’re sending you a new version too, with a subset of the interview included. That’s also the version available at TwinsCentric.com right now as a FREE download. Several of you have asked about the availability of the Handbook in a print version. We are working on that and hope to make it available in the next couple of weeks. The Bill Smith interview will be included in the print version.)


30 Responses to “Long-Term Option?”

  1. brad October 27, 2009 at 7:51 am #

    That is exactly what BS should do. Looking up Cuddy long term would also give them protection if Mourneau wants $20+ when he deal is up. IMO a 3 year extension beyond 2010 with a base of $30 + incentives is a very fair deal on both sides. If Cuddy were to be a FA next year and if were to have a year similar to this year he would be looking at around $12-15 mill per year.

  2. Joe October 27, 2009 at 8:16 am #

    When is Justin Morneau’s contract up? I thought it was after the 2013 season. Long time to be worrying about Morneau extensions considering he will be 32 years old when he hit free agency.

  3. Mark October 27, 2009 at 9:13 am #

    I like the idea of getting as many questions regarding contracts answered before the beginning of next season. It is very clear Cuddyer is a perfect example of Twins type of player and most of all I truly believe he wants to be here. Also another piece in place to show Mauer they mean business.

  4. SBG October 27, 2009 at 9:42 am #

    Intangibles? You mean, someone who will talk to reporters and give them nice quotes? Pfft.

    Joe Mauer is Twins baseball. Cuddyer is a nice piece to add around Mauer. If signing Cuddyer to a three year deal makes Joe Mauer happy, then sign Cuddyer.

    • Kunza October 27, 2009 at 10:29 am #

      At what expense, though? Having dead money in a veteran who has played a total of 3 healthy seasons who is getting much, much older?

      You don’t think Mauer would be just as happy giving John Lackey a 3 or 4 year deal worth 13-15 million a year?

      • Seth October 27, 2009 at 10:54 am #

        I bet Mauer would be happy with Cuddyer and a veteran pitcher. I would think he’d be smart enough too to know that it would be wiser to go after the likes of Matt Cain and Josh Johnson at this stage and offer them long-term deals.

        I think $8.5-10 million is a very fair range for someone with Cuddyer’s track record. And like I said, when he has been healthy, Cuddyer has been good for .270-.280, with a good OBP, a good SLG.

    • Seth October 27, 2009 at 10:50 am #

      Joe Mauer is the best player in the game. he is the MVP and the best player on the team. I’m not a fan of overusage of the word intangibles either, but they do need other players around him. And Mauer does a nice job leading the pitching staff, but no question, the team leader is Cuddyer. If they don’t make a statement regarding Cuddyer, I don’t think Mauer would be happy. Signing Cuddyer makes a ton of sense… and keeping him extended at less than $10 million a year is also fair.

  5. Scott in IC October 27, 2009 at 9:45 am #

    I think signing Cuddy would be a great organizational move. He proved that can be a valuable piece of the puzzle when he’s healthy, and he does represent so much of what the Twins stand for. Getting him on board for several more years would add a tremendou amount of credibility to the organization’s long-term commitment to success when talking to Mauer and his agent.

  6. rghrbek October 27, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    Cruddy has trade value right now! he has had 2 good years, and yes last year he came up big. Someone would clearly over pay for him. He has deteriorated in the outfield, and his arm has become a liability, not an asset. For the length that you are suggesting Seth, I just think it’s too much. That means we would have him when he is 36.

    I know he is a clubhouse guy, but I think that is something you sacrifice if you can get a couple of MLB ready prospects to play SS, 2b, SP, OF…the list goes on. We are thin in AAA for areas of need.

    I am not saying you have to trade him, but it should be explored, which it won’t be. They will probably sign him for too long so we can watch him get picked off first and 2nd base, get hurt, and never replicate the season he had this year, all while getting older and having no trade value.

    I hope I am wrong.

  7. Kunza October 27, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    I think that kind of money for Cuddyer is ridiculous. I keep reading about these numbers and I come back to a 2009 career year where he hits 32 HR – hit previous high was 24, which by the way, was the only year in his career, until this year, when he cracked 20.

    I truly hate all these super-ficial made up stats that are created these days. So stupid and people live and die by them. Look at the true baseball numbers – AVG, SLG, OBP, HR, BB, SO and RBI

    Is he really worth that kind of money?

    • Seth October 27, 2009 at 10:56 am #

      Is he worth $9-10 million? Absolutely.

  8. Kyle October 27, 2009 at 10:36 am #

    Michael Cuddyer is certainly an important piece that the Twins would be wise to lock up even longer. However, at what point is it wise to let a player go and let the farm system supplant them? I fear that with more money we will be clambering for our favorite players to be signed for long-term money when there likely will be a replacement ready.

    That being said, Cuddyer has right-handed power which is a weakness throughout the system, but he is not an irreplaceable player either (see: Mauer, Joe). I wouldn’t be opposed if the extension is reasonable (under 10M annually), but the success of it would be determined on his health and ability to replicate his two standout seasons.

  9. Seth October 27, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    “at what point is it wise to let a player go and let the farm system supplant them?”

    When those other guys are ready? Are there any Twins minor league OF that are ready to take over now and put up numbers anywhere near what Cuddyer put up? The closest is Tosoni, who hits left-handed. Revere is at least 2-3 years from contributing and the thought of him posting a .500+ SLG is crazy. Hicks and Morales are likely 3-5 years away.

    I’m as big of a prospect guy as anyone, but at the same time, you have to realize that not all minor league prospects materialize, so sometimes you have to stand by the solid contributors you’ve got.

    That’s like getting rid of Kubel now and making the assumption that Ramos will just take over and provide 25-30 HR power right away. That just doesn’t always happen.

  10. Ben October 27, 2009 at 11:17 am #

    It’s possible Smith is working on a new Cuddyer contract. But if he has another year on his deal plus an option for 2011, why bother?

    GMs don’t always need a reason to keep tight-lipped. Terry Ryan would barely say anything about anybody.

  11. ben October 27, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    I’m guessing he’s not saying anything now because he’s letting the baseball spotlight stay where it’s supposed to. How mad would we be if the Twins were still in the playoffs and the Yankees started making announcements. I know it’s different because the national spotlight wouldn’t be on the Twins for announcing Cuddyer’s option getting picked up, but it seems like a principle the Twins would go by.

  12. Nick N. October 27, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    At the end of Cuddyer’s current contract (w/ option), he’ll be 33. That’s the right time to cut ties. They’re getting his prime years and by that point some of their outfield prospects should be about ready to step in. Re-upping Cuddyer into his mid-30s at a premium rate would be a terrible move for a team with the Twins’ budget.

  13. TT October 27, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    “I can come up with just one reason.”

    There are a lot of reasons Smith might not share their plans for Cuddyer in an exclusive interview. For one, common courtesy and professional respect would not have employees read about your plans for them on the internet or hear about them from a teammate.

    The question is not what Cuddyer will be worth next year, but what will he be worth to the Twins in a couple years. A fading corner outfielder with a no trade clause is not going to be an asset when you have several young stars waiting for a chance to play.

    • Kunza October 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

      Ding! Ding! Ding! I agree 100% And it is not secret how well the Twins handle their “veterans” opposed to young players.

  14. roger October 27, 2009 at 3:06 pm #

    The Twins can gain a lot of what everyone wants by extending the contract. Tie him up through 2011 and they still have options to: 1) talk later this winter or next summer winter about tearing up the 2011 year and entering into a longer term deal, or 2) trading him this summer or next winter should they choose. Now I think Cuddy brings a lot more to the table for this team than just his numbers. So I do think the Twins will take a look at him longer term, but they don’t need to do that in the next couple weeks. By extending him another year all the options remain on the table.

  15. Joel Thingvall October 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm #

    Yep, you can always trade him for something.

    He is not a valuable back-up at first abse.

    He could become a DH, who can also play a variety of positions.

  16. gobbledygookguy October 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    sign cuddles to a long extension, let all our top prospects rot in the minors. probably extend punto and red, keep that happy club house.
    let him play out his contract and go from there. he has had two good seasons, chances are next yr won’t live up to this yr. if he has a very good yr next then talk but with their budget they can’t afford to tie up that kind of money when they don’t need to at this point.

  17. peterb18 October 27, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    Seth is right on the Cuddyer situation. Finding someone to hit 25-30 homers from the minors is a risky proposition! In today’s era of physical training and having personal trainers available a player is still in his prime from 32 to 35 years old. Look at players such as Eddie Mathews and Mickey Mantle—-they were declining at that age. That is not the case today! SIGN CUDDYER!

  18. TT October 27, 2009 at 9:32 pm #

    “In today’s era of physical training and having personal trainers available a player is still in his prime from 32 to 35 years old.”

    I don’t think that is true if you look at the data and, even if it were true in the recent past, you have the question of whether it will still be true sans steroids. It seems that “modern training technique” was often a euphemism for a hypodermic needle. Lifting weights doesn’t stop the aging process.

    In any case, the Twins have Cuddyer signed through 2011 right now and I don’t think there is much doubt they will pick up the option for 2011. So a decision to extend his contract is not a priority of any kind. I doubt he is going to get more expensive as he ages.

  19. peterb18 October 27, 2009 at 10:25 pm #


    Let see some of the data! Are you trying to say that the modern athletes are not in better condition and can’t play longer than the baseball players of the past? Mantle and Mathews are prime examples of guys that didn’t take of themselves. With today’s facilities they could have definitly played longer. However, to somewhat support your thesis, Sports Illustrated(March,2009)had an article on aging slugggers–such as Mathews, Mantle & Fox and they attributed most of the decline to excessive use of these athletes. Look at Roger Maris, who declined because of a bad shoulder when with the Cardinals—-advanced shoulder surgery,or therapy was not available at the time. Look up Smokey Joe Wood–another example. That’s why I support Seth on this issue.

  20. Mike October 27, 2009 at 10:34 pm #

    Makes way too much sense for Billy Smith to digest in one sitting.Will never happen.

  21. JK October 27, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    Is Cuddyer more valuable than Bobby Abreu, Orlando Hudson, Felipe Lopez, Rafael Furcal, Adam Dunn, Raul Ibanez, Juan Rivera? All signed 1-3 year deals in the $5-10M/year range. I don’t see the upside to extending Cuddyer now at the market rate.

    The composite aging curves of all batters from 1957 to 2006 can be found at http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/article/basic_aging_curve_for_hitters_1957_2006/under the google docs line. Peak offensive value on average is from ages 25-27. The rate of decline begins to pick up around age 31.

  22. TT October 28, 2009 at 12:11 am #

    “Are you trying to say that the modern athletes are not in better condition and can’t play longer than the baseball players of the past?”

    That’s right. How is David Ortiz doing?

    “Let see some of the data! ”

    I did a quick look, but the database I have is only up-to-date through 2005. There were 12 players over the age of 33 who got >500 at bats in 2005. 10 years earlier, in 1995, it was 11, in 1985 it was 16, 1975 it was 5, 1965 it was 8, 1955 was 3, in 1945 it was 10 and in 1905 it was 11.

    Others did this research in depth when people were claiming Bonds and McGwire were just a result of the natural progression of “modern training techniques”. We know now, it was anything but natural. But the research even then showed they were extreme outliers.

    It may be some players are in better shape, but that is not typically resulting in them being productive after age 33.

  23. peterb18 October 28, 2009 at 8:17 am #

    The stats given by TT are incomplete, or inaccurate in the sense that the game has changed with platooning,etc. I would like to see the list of the players over 33 that still play, but with maybe only 300 , or 250 at bats. Just like pitchers—not as many innings today! It’s not how many at bats you get to determine the length of a career—it’s whether you can still play! I’m not defending the steroid era—personally, I would like to see all of the records of this era deleted, or whatever! You can still be productive without steroids!

  24. TT October 28, 2009 at 11:27 am #

    “the game has changed with platooning,etc”

    Where is the data to support that? You think platooning is a modern invention?

    The game has also changed in that there are now 162 games in a season compared to 154 before expansion and 30 teams instead of 16. I did do a query on how many players total there are that had over 500 at bats. The number has increased, not decreased.

    “maybe only 300 , or 250 at bats. ”

    I don’t think Cuddyer is going to be worth $11 million dollars if he only gets 250 at bats. That is part of the point about aging players. The fact is that only 12 players over 33 got over 500 at bats in 2005. Even if there were 20, the number is still small enough to be a concern when extending a contract to Cuddyer.

  25. scot October 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    I’m leaning towards keeping him. If anything KUbel can become a full time outfielder and Cuddy becomes DH/backup 1B.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: