This could be an end to an era. An end to a relationship. People in Twins Territory have been in suspense this week about the possibility of Michael Cuddyer, a fan favorite and a free-agent, leaving the Twins organization. This past month the Twins were trying to sign Cuddyer, but he wasn’t taking the offer. So, it appears management had to move forward–and they sure did. Just this morning, there was breaking news that said Cuddyer was likely heading west.
Just yesterday the Twins signed free-agent Josh Willingham to a three-year, $21 million contract. When the Twins didn’t hear back from Cuddyer, they focused on the Oakland outfielder. The Twins offered Cuddyer three years, but he was looking for a bigger contract. Willingham was wanted by many teams before the Twins grabbed him. With the Athletics last year, Willingham belted 29 home runs and has smacked 20 homers or more in four of his first eight years. Willingham can play both right and left field, but the Twins have indicated that he will be their right fielder. This is an outstanding move by the Twins as Willingham will give them much-needed power in their line-up.
Today could mark the end of Cuddyer’s run as a Twin, which began when he was signed by the Twins in 1997. This morning, December 16, the Colorado Rockies and Cuddyer agreed to a three-year, $31.5 million deal. Finishing touches are being put on the contract but it looks like Cuddyer will be a Rockie. The deal could be finalized later today. Last year, Cuddyer batted .284 with 20 home runs.
While with the Twins, Cuddyer was an advocate for Courage Center’s Rolling Twins teams and he was the Twins’ spokesman for the 2010 Pepsi Refresh Grant contest. Cuddyer helped the Twins get the most votes, which in turn helped Courage Center build a wheelchair-accessble complex. The Twins won the grant by more than 60,000 votes, getting the most among 14 other MLB teams. Courage Center is now in the middle of building the complex in Brooklyn Park. The cutest Twin, to some fans, will be surely missed by the Twins and the disabled community.
With that said, I wish good luck to Cuddyer and hope he visits the Courage Center’s accessible softball complex when it is completed! Oh, and welcome to Minnesota, Josh Willingham!
Written by: Michael L. Sack