MLB Trade Deadline: Michael Cuddyer Provides Versatility for Contenders

Bleacher ReportContributor IIIJuly 26, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 16: Michael Cuddyer #5 of the Minnesota Twins hits a single against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning on July 16, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Royals 4-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With the deadline five days away, many teams are still determining whether a playoff push is still possible. These decisions determine the market for contenders. One of these potential sellers, the Minnesota Twins, are 47-55 but only seven games out of first place in the weak AL Central. The Twins have one of the better right-handed hitters, Michael Cuddyer, whose versatility and power would make him a valuable pickup for contending clubs looking for a power bat.

Cuddyer's numbers compare favorably to the biggest bat available, Carlos Beltran. Cuddyer has 14 home runs with a line of .296/.371/.466, whereas Beltran, a switch-hitter, has 15 home runs with a .289/.389/.514.

However, Cuddyer won't command the same prospects as Beltran and his contract is much cheaper. He provides an impressive combination of power, an ability to get on base (10.1 percent walk rate), decent speed (seven stolen bases) and has played in the postseason.

While Cuddyer doesn't provide tons of power, he has a .174 ISO, he would be the top home run hitter and best offensive player on the Giants roster if Brian Sabean became interested. Cuddyer's wRC+ of 136 would be the highest on the Giants and he would be able to play the corner outfield in addition to first base despite being a below-average defender at those positions. I project him to finish with 20-22 home runs, 10-12 stolen bases and a slash line around .285/.360/.455.  

If the Twins do not want to part with Cuddyer, Bill Smith can make an effort to resign him in the offseason. While the organization is only seven games out, there are three other clubs in front of them. This division will be for the taking again next season, and Cuddyer could still be a part of that effort even with a trade in the coming days.