New York Mets News

Michael Cuddyer could interest Mets; Is he a fit?

By Danny Abriano
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The Mets’ main priority this offseason should be filling their glaring need for a dependable corner outfielder with pop. Could pending free agent Michael Cuddyer be that guy?

According to Andy Martino of the Daily News, the Mets have interest in Cuddyer – at the right price:

"While Sandy Alderson has long checked in on the Giancarlo Stantons and Carlos Gonzalezes of the world, he and his staff consider it more likely that the Mets will surround their core of pitchers with a lineup filled with veteran, versatile or otherwise interchangeable pieces. Think Tampa Bay Rays, during their good years.Cuddyer is just such a piece. Thirty-five years old, he was injured much of this season, but hit 10 home runs in 49 games, while batting .332. People familiar with the Mets’ thinking say that the team considers him attractive on a two-year deal."

Cuddyer, who turns 36 in March, just finished a three-year deal where he made a shade over $10 million annually.

A debilitating hamstring injury limited Cuddyer to just 49 games in 2014, where he hit .332/.376/.579 with 10 home runs.

For his career, Cuddyer is a .279/.347/.466 hitter who averages 21 home runs per season.

Thoughts:

Before delving into Cuddyer, it should be noted that the Mets – if they so choose – have enough talent to land a true impact corner outfield bat (or shortstop). If an opportunity presents itself, the trade route should be the way to go.

Martino claims in his article that the Mets are “reluctant” to deal any of their starting pitching, but something about that seems off. It would be quite odd if the Mets went into the 2015 season with the same glut of starting pitching they currently have. For one, there isn’t room on the roster. Second, and more importantly, the Mets could theoretically turn some of their starting pitching depth into an upgrade at a position of need.

Onto Cuddyer…

If the Mets don’t upgrade the outfield via trade, Cuddyer could fit. He’s one of the most attractive free agent pieces who will be on the market, and has been quite steady over the course of his career.

Yes, Cuddyer will be 36 in 2015 and yes, Cuddyer was hampered by injury last season. Still, if he can be had for roughly $20 million over two years, it would be a worthy gamble.

If they don’t acquire a true difference maker for the outfield, the Mets should be sticking to one or two-year deals for any potential outfielder due to the fact that Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto are close to major league ready.

Cuddyer hits both left-handed and right-handed pitching well, though most of his power comes against righties.

For those worried about Cuddyer’s recent numbers being skewed due to playing his home games in Coors Field, it should be noted that Cuddyer hit .282 on the road in 2014, and .311 on the road in 2013, with the power distribution basically equal at home and on the road.

Michael Cuddyer is not a perfect fit, but he could potentially be a very solid addition to the lineup.

The Mets should be aiming higher initially, but Cuddyer as a fallback option would be just fine.

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