Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Another Trade Target

Yesterday I wrote an article that talked about what the Yankees might be looking for in a trade. I started that off by pointing out that while the team has been connected to pitchers like Ricky Nolasco, it's run scoring that the team should be looking out for. So I talked a bit about Michael Morse being a trade target. Well, today I'm going to take a look at somebody else that caught my attention.

Michael Cuddyer

The Rockies are certainly still in the race for the NL West, as they are currently 3 games in back of Arizona. But that doesn't mean they wouldn't be willing to move their third best hitter (Troy Tulowitski and Carlos Gonzalez are the only Rockies with a higher OPS+ this season). For two reasons...

1. By the time the trade deadline comes around, Cuddyer will be owed a little under $5 million, and another $10.5 million for next season. For a team with a payroll just under $74 million, that's no insignificant amount. Especially when you consider that they already have $39.629 million locked up in only four players next year (Tulowitski at $16 million, Gonzalez at $10.929 million, Fowler at $7.85 million, and Chacin at $4.85 million). So this is a team that would definitely be interested in freeing up some money.

2. The Rockies have already called up outfielder Corey Dickerson from AAA. Dickerson was hitting .386/.429/.646 with 9 home runs for Colorado Springs before getting called up last Friday. And he's already making quite the impression, as he's had 3 hits in his first 7 MLB at bats... all doubles. He's not Jose Molina on the base paths either, as he had 6 stolen bases in AAA this season, and stole 43 in 368 minor league games. Going back to the payroll thing, Colorado has to be keen on having a starter that makes the league minimum.

I don't expect Michael to continue hitting to a 151 wRC+, as he's been aided by a very high batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of .382 and career-high line drive percentage of 22%. That doesn't mean we should expect him to fall off the face of the Earth, a la Vernon Wells after April, either. Cuddyer has hit .274/.343/.460 in his career, while averaging about 17 home runs a season between 2010 and 2012.

And for those of you that may be thinking Mike's been padding his numbers thanks to hitting in Colorado, you'll be interested to know that he hit 66 home runs with Minnesota between 2009 and 2011. So "thin air" is not the only thing we can attribute to his power.


Cuddyer certainly fits in the team position-wise. He's spent the majority of the time in right field the past couple of years, while also having seen time at first base. And although it's been a couple of years since he's played over there, Michael does have over 1300 MLB innings at third base.

When it comes to trading for anybody, it all comes down to price. The salary relief will be nice for the Rockies, so I don't think the price would be a top 10 prospect like JR Murphy. Speaking of catchers, Colorado may be interested in acquiring one since they don't have any big catching prospects in the minors, and youngster Wilin Rosario hasn't exactly been a "beast" in MLB (97 wRC+ this season).

The Rockies would also likely be interested in acquiring a young/cost-controlled second baseman. Josh Rutledge had some hype surrounding him coming into the 2013 season, but he's only been able to manage a triple-slash of .228/.290/.344 this season. And after 500 plate appearances in MLB, Josh's OPS+ of 81 might give Colorado pause in handing him a starting spot next season. So what about David Adams? David's numbers aren't exactly "great", but the MLB experience he's had is a plus, and a batting line of .296/.380/.450 in the minors shows that he's better than what we've seen in the big leagues so far.

Just in case anybody doubts Cuddyer could play third base, which is something to think about since we're talking about trading away our current starter there, keep in mind that Jayson Nix has already played there for over 200 innings this season. And even though Nix is hardly a masher at the plate, he's done better than Adams this season.

So let's add Michael Cuddyer to the list of viable trade targets. Shall we?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)