Well, yesterday the Rockies finally did what many have been clamoring for them to do - spend some money in free agency. While the club didn't quite make the splash that some were hoping for (Carlos Beltran) and didn't necessarily fill a glaring hole on the roster, they did get a guy who just came off a season in which he hit 20 bombs while playing half of his games in a cavernous ballpark and has a chance to be a plus bat in an already good-but-not-great lineup. With that, let's welcome Michael Cuddyer to Denver with open arms. Tweet at him here.
Now, to the reactions..
Scott Miller from CBS Sports thinks that the Rockies have made a pretty good upgrade by inking Cuddyer, and he seems to like the direction that the Rockies have headed during this offseason. However, the largest upgrade may come in the form of clubhouse presence, and not necessarily on the field. Cuddyer's 2011 numbers vs. those of Seth Smith:
Cuddyer - .284/.346/.459
Smith - .284/.347/.483
Weeeeiiiiird. However, those eerily similar figures would likely change a little bit - likely in favor of Cuddyer - with the proper park adjustments in place.
In addition to Miller, Jon Heyman thinks the Rockies have done well by picking up the 32 year old slugger. Let's hope Heyman is right and that Cuddyer turns out to be this year's Michael Young. Speaking of Young, Fangraphs' Matt Klassen sees the comparison as well, but for different reasons. However, Klassen does say that the move could turn out to be a solid one depending on how the Rox continue to build their roster this offseason. I agree with this assessment completely, for what it's worth.
Of course, there are some negative reactions. Dan Szymborski spent a good portion of his morning absolutely tearing Cuddyer and the Rockies apart via Twitter - the most notable, in my mind, was this tweet. Meanwhile, it's no surprise that Keith Law completely despised the signing. From his Insider-only piece on ESPN.com:
The damage caused by a play not made on a batted ball in Coors Field is too high to mess around with a brutal defender like Cuddyer in the outfield, and if you look at the years when Colorado has succeeded over the past decade, it's been in large part because of strong defenses. Cuddyer is below average -- to be kind -- at all four corner positions, and his bat isn't good enough to carry his glove at any of them.
Cuddyer seems to already be a bit of a polarizing figure amongst Rockies fans. This should make for an interesting 2012. If Cuddyer hits something like what Michael Young did last year, he'll be loved by all. However, if he has a Ty Wigginton-type of average-to-below average year, he's going to get absolutely crushed by the common folk.
More links after the jump...
It seems the Rockies and Brad Lidge have an intense mutual interest in each other, so there's a pretty good possibility we'll see Lidge in purple pinstripes for 2012. His agent, a powerful man (as the fact that he boasts a two-first-names name would suggest), says that location will weigh heavily in Lidge's decision, and what place is better than home? In 2011, Lidge posted a 1.40 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched, exhibiting the same type of solid K rate (10.7) and heart-racing BB rate (6.1) that he's always been known for.