Saying Goodbye…And Hello
I hated seeing Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel leave for Colorado & Arizona, respectively. They have been incredibly fun to watch the last decade or so. I liked Kubel’s no-nonsense approach to success, as well as his live bat and always-improving defensive skills. Cuddyer, of course, was the epitome of the “Twins way” with his positive attitude, versatility, and toughness. There is no way that losing both of them will improve the team in any way, shape, or form for 2012.
The trouble, of course, is that the Twins (because of last season) dug themselves into such a hole that the competitive future is almost surely beyond ’12. As such, as much as I hate to say it, not overpaying for Cuddyer & Kubel was probably a smart decision. We gave them both fair offers (at least from what I heard/read) and they chose greener (literally) pastures. More power to them.
In Cuddy’s case, he’s never really developed into an elite player. He strikes out (on those @#$% outside pitches in the dirt!) far too much, is prone to long slumps, and could just as easily hit .260 with 15 homers next season. We can’t tie up any more money in that risk (see: Mauer/Morneau; unluckiness)
With Kubel, he could absolutely mash subpar pitching…but struggled mightily (sometimes even embarrassingly so) against the elites (see: Yankees in playoffs). Plus, the move to Target Field really dulled his right field gap home run power.
So, as much as I hate to see them go, I have to conclude that it makes sense at this point in the Twins’ future.
We did, however, sign Josh Willingham (formerly of the Marlins, Nats, & most recently A’s)…
I don’t really know much about Willingham, but I like the reviews of him I hear from other players. He seems to have some pop in his bat as well. What I like the most, however, is that his career OPS is over .800. It isn’t tremendous, of course, but far better than most players in our lineups last year. At the very least, he can hopefully provide some veteran leadership to what promises to be an interesting mish-mash of a team in ’12.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot…
We also got Jason Marquis (of basically every NL team, I believe…!). Considering the little money we paid him, this could be a steal…provided he comes back from a leg injury sustained last season. He’s a workhorse who prides himself (much like Pavano) on taking the ball every fifth day. Lord knows we need more of those types around these parts.