Michael Cuddyer left a very nice legacy in the Twin Cities
Every so often, a player comes along who is perfect in just about every way. He’s productive on the field and a good teammate off it. He sees it as part of his professional responsibility to be a good citizen of his community.
That first paragraph pretty much sums up Michael Cuddyer’s 11 seasons with the Twins. He always tried to do and say the right thing.
Clubs evolve through the years, and as this off-season unfolded, it was clear that Cuddyer would end up elsewhere. The Twins saved about $3 million a year by signing Josh Willingham instead of Cuddyer and will pick up a couple of compensatory draft picks.
GM Terry Ryan will now sort through options, from re-signing Jason Kubel to shopping for pitching to holding his cards and gauging his team’s needs during the regular season.
Meanwhile, Cuddyer fits nicely in Dan O’Dowd’s remake of the Rockies. He can play right field, which would allow Carlos Gonzalez to move to left at Coors Field. He can also spell Todd Helton at first.
Still, when it happened, it was an emotional moment for the Twins. They drafted him out of high school, brought him to the big leagues and watched him grow into one of the most respected players in the game.
He fit nicely on a club respected for its work ethic and blue-collar approach. The Twins made the postseason six times in his 11 seasons, and with the opening of Target Field, changed the way people think about baseball in Minnesota.
He made the American League All-Star team only once in his 11 seasons, but he departed the Twin Cities with the respect of all who knew him. As legacies go, that’s not a bad one.