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Cuddyer Leaves a Void Behind

Once Michael Cuddyer‘s retirement was confirmed, seemingly everyone sought out the best way to spend his $12.5 million forfeited salary. The prevailing thought was that the Mets should re-sign Yoenis Cespedes. I do admit for a time being the Mets could’ve better spent their money

These are interesting and worthwhile discussions, but they also neglect the void Cuddyer leaves behind. I know he was slated to make a lot of money. Money, frankly, that could be better spent elsewhere. Put that aside for a second. That money was already budgeted. Instead, let’s focus on the role Cuddyer was going to play:

  1. Veteran presence in the clubhouse;
  2. Solid pinch hitter; and 
  3. Right handed bat against tough lefties. 

At a minimum, you knew you could slate him in to give Lucas Duda an occasional day off while having a credible bat and glove at first base. He could take some at bats from Curtis Granderson against lefties. Remember, Granderson has definitive platoon splits, and he will be 35 years old next year. He can also ease the transition of Michael Conforto into his role as an everyday player.  

Now, many people will naturally call for Juan Uribe to take his place. It seems like a fit. Uribe was a great addition to the clubhouse, and can spell David Wright at third on occasion. Last year, Uribe was uncomfortable playing first, but he may have more aptitude after having an offseason to prepare for the role. He will also cost much less than $12.5 million. 

However, Uribe is not the player Cuddyer is or was. Cuddyer is a career .277/.344/.461 hitter. Last year, Cuddyer hit .259/.309/.391. As a pinch hitter, Cuddyer hits .355/.431/.548. Conversely, Uribe is a career .256/.303/.421 hitter. Last year, he hit .219/.301/.430 with the Mets and .253/.320/.417 overall. As a pinch hitter, Uribe has hit .281/.363/.461. 

For the money, sure, you’d probably rather have Uribe. However, that first implies the Mets will reallocate the money (not a given). Second, it ignores the fact that Cuddyer also plays the outfield, which Uribe doesn’t. Lastly, Uribe would be redundant as he would just be signing on to play Wilmer Flores‘ role. 

No, to fully replace Cuddyer the Mets need a right handed 1B/OF who can serve as a mentor to the players on the team.  Looking at the free agent market that player doesn’t exist. Therefore, finding a replacement for Cuddyer will be next to impossible. The Mets are not a better team after his retirement. 

I suppose the biggest testament to the type of player and Cuddyer is is noting that the 2016 Mets are worse off for his retirement. 

0 thoughts on “Cuddyer Leaves a Void Behind”

  1. Brian says:

    What about kelly Johnson has he signed anywhere?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      The reason I didn’t mention Kelly Johnson is because Uribe really was a vocal leader, and Johnson hits lefty. While that’s normally valuable, the players he would hit/play for are all left-handed or switch hitters: Duda, Walker, Cabrera, Granderson, and Conforto.

      1. Robert Saul says:

        Michael Cuddyer will eventually become an excellent MLB manager. He was a pleasure to watch all those years. His best baseball years are ahead of him. Thanks Michael. Towny Townsend is smiling at you.

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  3. Patrick says:

    Outside of admitting that cuddy was probably a good clubhouse influence, I can’t agree that the mets are worse without him.
    No one can’t deny his precipitous drop from coors field. I’m not saying his offense was reliant on coors field. But, his age and deficiencies were on full display last year.
    Call me early nostalgic to the 2015 nl penants, but, I’ll always appreciate cuddy (as much as I’ll hate the small marketed GM office and payroll rejecting ownership).
    A small thing no one has ever brought up is how cuddy put David Wright baseball on the map. Wright, Upton brothers… they all look to cuddy as the guy to put their little space in Virginia on the mlb map.
    So, of course he deserves more credit than he’s getting. But, it’s for the player he WAS.
    Who he is… it’s nothing good. His retirement isn’t only good for mets fans. But, it’s great for ownership. They’ll buy him out of final year. Vegas odds say they’ll pocket the remainder.
    This is where the madoff question and small marketed front office cause fans pause.
    They’re buying off cuddy. Saving millions. Trading reasonable contract of niese for a similar contract for a 1 year rental. I digress to their money resteictions…
    Point is, cuddys not a good player anymore. He’s in his late 30s. Coming off a core muscle surgery. Following a terribly disappointing season and especially post season.
    Right now the OF is Conforto and grandy everyday. Lagares in platoon. Kirk is 4th OF.
    It’s not that you’re selling a FA on CF. Or platoon CF. That’s a sell in itslef. But, if you’re a FA, think about it. You’re being sold on platoon status. Yes, it’s for CF (which should make it more “appealing” and “enticing”), but, it’s still for a non starting everyday position.
    Also, IF your somehow ARE that guy, you haven’t made much and will go to highest bidder, which mets don’t do anymore.
    Know what? I’m actually convinced cuddy leaving isn’t terrible. But it is somehow.
    Expieriece? Tell that to the guys that just made the world series. Last I checked, there’s no experience than actually being there. Which most of the returning team will experience.
    Output? You think cuddy can’t be replaced? Kirk or cuddy for last man on roster?????? You’d take kirk.
    So what’s left? I couldn’t tell you. Maybe just hope he could have been more. And all mets fans know he could have been so much more.
    For some reason I want him back. Maybe its just the earliest of nostalgia. Maybe it’s me not trusting Wright as an actual clubhouse veteran presence and steadiness. Oh gee gosh I went there.
    Truth be told, cuddy was a TERRIBLE met. Probably worse than chris young…
    But, somehow as fans we accept him. Because he was on the roster when we went to the WS.
    Truth is, kirk would have taken over his OF spot next year. 1b? If they dont sign anyone, they’ll fumble a darnaud/plawecki 1b situstion. Whether cuddy was on the team or not, this is where the mets were heading anyway.
    If anything, cuddy saved himself the embarrassment of never being played.
    And I feel bad saying that. He did his part and helped us go to a world series.
    Baseball wise thiugh? He has nothing left to offer as a player.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Quick question: who is the right-handed 1B/OF available on the market?

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