Earlier today, Minnesota Twins utilityman and long-time member Michael Cuddyer stated in an interview that he would be willing to waive his limited no-trade clause to go to another team, so as long as it "helps the organization (referring to the Twins)."
Cuddyer has been on the Twins his whole career, having been drafted by them with the ninth overall pick in the 1997 MLB draft. His professional career has spanned 10 seasons (seven in which he played over 100 games, including this one if all goes well). In that time, Cuddyer has posted a .271 average, hit 131 home runs and hit 537 RBI. His OPS is a decent .793.
While Mauer is now the face of the Twins, one cannot deny that Cuddyer comes in at a close second. He's been with the team for 10 years, and he's been very faithful and has loved his time there.
What shows this more is that he's willing to take one for the team. He said in the interview (and I quote): "I care so much about this organization...I do...I care so deeply about this team, that if it helps the organization..." meaning that he'll take a trade if it benefits the Twins. That says a lot about the guy, and I highly respect him for his loyalty to the Twins, especially in a time where they're struggling within the division (although they're climbing back now).
According to the MLBTradeRumors.com link (the first one), the Twins would understandably have to eat a significant portion of his $10.5 million salary this season in order to appeal him to other clubs. Cuddyer, thanks to his current contract, has a limited no-trade clause, and when I say limited, I mean limited. His clause counts for three teams that, if a deal arises with them, he must approve. Cuddyer said he can't even remember all three of them, although he believes that the Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays are two of those three teams.
This means that Cuddyer can be traded to all other 26 teams in the majors.
Well, as I always say, why don't the Phillies jump into the mix?
Cuddyer is 32 years old and is in the final year of his contract. While he would love to remain a member of the Twins, he's willing to go to another team.
As I've also previously stated, the Twins would have to eat a significant portion of Cuddyer's contract in order for most teams to take him.
If the Phillies traded someone...oh, I don't know, Joe Blanton...to Minnesota, such monetary issues would not apply.
Here's how it goes down: Blanton is due $17 million through 2012. However, this season, the Twins have the fifth-worst team ERA at 4.22. They're also dead last in strikeouts with 383 and in innings pitched with 592.1 and are tied for fourth-worst batting average allowed, that standing at .263. Lastly, their K/9 and K/BB ratios are both second-to-last in the majors, those standing at 5.82 and 1.82, respectively.
In short, the Twins' pitching staff is terrible.
And with constant trade rumors of Francisco Liriano being dealt at the deadline this year, the Twins might need another starting pitcher or two.
In this case, Joe Blanton might be their guy.
A Blanton-for-Cuddyer deal would ease up the Phillies' salary issues and not only allow for a free-agent signing, but also for more room to extend lefty ace Cole Hamels.
But that's not even the best part: the Phillies, who have been hunting for a right-handed bat this year, would get a great return. Cuddyer's batting .282 this year with 10 home runs and 27 RBI. Even better is that he's versatile: he's played all infield positions except shortstop and both corner outfield positions this season alone. Imagine how he could impact the Phillies.
Another great stat is that Cuddyer has batted .291 against lefties this year. That could appeal to the Phillies as well, who, as a whole, have struggled to hit against southpaws.
The only problem with Blanton in such a scenario is that he's currently on the DL and most likely won't be back until July, which might be too long a wait for the Twins. But hey, who knows, Ruben is always able to at least bring such a deal into discussion.
While this is just trade speculation, I think a Blanton and prospect for Cuddyer deal could be one that neither side would regret in the long run.
What do you think?