Tuesday, October 27, 2009
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.)