Thank You Cuddyer
Frankly, I’m stunned Michael Cuddyer retired. There were 12.5 million reasons not to retire. However, I suppose he knew it was his time to retire. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised a team first guy like him didn’t just go out there to go through the motions.
You see while there are many different ways you to describe Cuddyer’s tenure with the Mets, on a. day like today, the one that resonates with me is Class Act. He was a one from his first moment with the Mets until his very last.
It’s easy to envision it now, but Cuddyer came to the Mets to “win the NL East and hopefully do some damage in the postseason as well.” At times during the season, this seemed impossible. As Mets were dropping like flies, he fought through a knee injury to be one of the few credible major league hitters in what was at times a AAA lineup. During this time, he would have an impact helping the Mets stay afloat including a game winning hit a game winning hit when the Mets season seemed its bleakest:
He played until he could play no more. This led to his eventual replacement, Michael Conforto, getting called up. Cuddyer was replaced. He responded like the class act he was. He became a mentor to Conforto. He was helping the player who was forcing him to the bench. It probably was a factor in Conforto’s meteoric rise. Cuddyer was content to help in the clubhouse and on the field as much as he could.
Unfortunately, Cuddyer had a rough postseason. His last ever game was Game One of the World Series when he struck out in all three of his at bats. He deserved to go out better. During the postseason it was easy to forget Cuddyer was a lifetime .277/.344/.461 hitter with 197 homers and 794 RBI. In his career, he averaged 21 homers and 84 RBIs a year. He was a two time All Star with a Homerun Derby appearance, a batting title, and a Silver Slugger.
He will forever be linked with the Twins. However, it was with the Mets he won a pennant and played in the World Series. While his play with the Mets wasn’t up to his usual standard, he was still the high quality character he always was. In many ways, I thought a healthy and rested Cuddyer could’ve helped the Mets next year.
Maybe there still is a way for him to do that. With Bob Geren going to Los Angeles, there’s a spot on the coaching staff. Considering his positive impact on the Mets young players, he just might be a good fit. Besides, he came here to wear the same uniform as his friend David Wright and win a World Series. In that sense, there is a bit of unfinished business.
Whether Cuddyer returns or not, the Mets players and organization were better for having him on the team. I wish him luck in whatever his next move will be. I appreciate all that he did with the Mets even if much of it was things we could not see.
Congratulations on a terrific career Michael Cuddyer!