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Michael Cuddyer Contract: St. Louis Cardinals Dodge Bad-Defense Bullet

The St. Louis Cardinals were rumored to have interest in Michael Cuddyer, who signed over the weekend with the Colorado Rockies, but given the terms of his contract—reportedly three years, $31.5 million—it looks like it was a good thing they failed to be the high bidder on the erstwhile Minnesota Twins almost-star.

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The thing about Michael Cuddyer is that the narrative that exists about him is largely true—he's a good hitter who can play first and third base, right field, and even second base, which is very neat. Tony La Russa would have loved him. The problem is one of degrees—he's a good hitter, with two .800 OPS seasons in the last three, but he's not a great hitter. And he can play first and third base, right field, and even second base, but he can't even play right field well.

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If he were a great hitter—consistently .850, instead of three times in six years—who could kind of play four positions, he'd be $10-million-a-year valuable. And if he were a good hitter who could play right field well and stand at those other positions, he might still be that valuable. But the player he is now—especially at 33—is a rough bet for this kind of contract, although he'll look much better at Coors Field than he did at Target Field. 

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