Over at MLBTR yesterday, Steve Adams suggested that the Twins could put Michael Cuddyer on the trading block as we near the trade deadline. While the Yankee offense is rolling along and doesn’t need much in the way of improvements, there is still at least one “position” that could use some beefing up. Jorge Posada has been tearing it up in June, but if his struggles against left handed pitching continue, the Yankees could/should be in the market for a right handed hitter to DH, even if Andruw Jones is on the roster.
Cuddyer fits in that he would only need to be a rental, and that would drive the cost down to begin with. He’s due a good deal of money, as the article says, and the Yankees can always help out there. Anything that will lessen the cost in terms of prospects is better for the Yankees. So, would Cuddyer make sense?
Though Cuddyer’s been an everyday player at a few positions for the Twins, he’s got a massive platoon split so far in 2011. He’s mashing lefties to the tune of a .488 wOBA and he’s been absolutely anemic against righties (.273 wOBA). For his career, the split is much less pronounced, though it still favors vs. LHP (.373) to vs. RHP (.329) as we’d expect. Offensively, he’s definitely suited for the position. He can hit lefties well and that’s, obviously, what the Yankees would be looking for in a DH vs. LHP. This fact shouldn’t really be a surprise, though. He may suit the position well, but that doesn’t mean a trade makes sense.
Acquiring Cuddyer to DH would mean that the Yankees would have two players on the roster that would do nothing but hit. That’s not exactly the most efficient way to construct a roster, though the Yankees showed a willingness to do this last year when they had Marcus Thames and Lance Berkman as platoon DHs. In his defense, Cuddyer has played all four corner positions as well as center field and second base. However, UZR has listed him as well below average at any position at which he has significant innings accumulated. While it’s useful that he can at least take up space in a few positions, I don’t think he’d see the field very much if he was on the Yankees.
I’m not Cuddyer’s biggest fan, but I wouldn’t mind it if the Yankees traded for him (cost dependent, of course). Still, though, I don’t think the Twins and Yankees will match up for this deal. Just because they did it last year doesn’t mean the Yankees will again feature a bench with two non-fielding players. If they trade for a bat, I expect him to be someone who can play the corner outfield spots while switch-hitting. Maybe he even plays in the same city as the Yankees (hint hint).
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