Michael Cuddyer's versatility made him the perfect Hot Stove League player, because teams across baseball could be linked in rumors to the Minnesota Twins' former right fielder or third baseman or second baseman or mopup pitcher no matter where the hole in their lineup was. No team proved this better than the Cardinals, who were interested in Cuddyer—who went to the Rockies at three years, $31.5 million—and not anywhere near Josh Willingham, who signed with the Twins to replace Cuddyer at three years, $21 million. For all that talk, it looks like Cuddyer's versatility was worth about three million Hot Stove Bucks a year to the Twins.â†µ
Willingham's the better hitter—he's at the bottom of the starting-player batting-average spectrum, but he draws a lot of walks and hits enough home runs to earn the word slugger in this depressed run environment—because of his greater consistency, and they're both 33. But Willingham unwisely stopped catching after the 2006 season, when he emerged as a late-blooming outfield bat after years in he-can't-quite-catch purgatory.
As a former catcher, maybe he at least has the arm to be a mopup pitcher.â†µ