So whom would you rather have? A 36-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder-first baseman with below average defensive skills coming off an injury plagued season, with offensive numbers puffed up by Coors field, for $21 million for two years? Or a 32-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder-first baseman with below average defensive skills with some injury history for $12 million for two years? Oh, and the older guy will also cost your first round draft choice. Obviously you would take the younger guy. Not so obviously, apparently, because Sandy Alderson once again jumped the gun to sign a free agent and missed out on a cheaper, and in this blog’s opinion, better alternative.
The guy Alderson just had to sign is Michael Cuddyer, of course. He needed him so badly that he signed him the same day Cuddyer turned down the Rockies qualifying offer, hence requiring the Mets to give up the draft pick. He reportedly would have taken the Rockies offer if he did not get a commitment from the Mets.
The younger guy is Mike Morse, whom the Marlins signed on Tuesday (one report has the figure at $8 million guaranteed, with incentives). Whatever the number, it is a bargain compared to Cuddyer.
Cuddyer is one big red flag. An over-35 player, recent injuries, Coors Field. His best days are clearly behind him. Morse, on the other hand, is not nicknamed “The Beast” for nothing. He is 6’5” and 245 pounds who can mash the ball. He hit 31 homers in 2011, but has had injury issues since then. Still, he played in 131 games in 2014, compared to Cuddyer’s 49.
Morse has also proven that Citi Field cannot contain him. He has six home runs in 24 career games in the giant ballpark. That averages out to 13 over 81 games. For comparison, Lucas Duda led the Mets in home homers with 14 last season.
Even after acquiring Cuddyer, Morse could still have been signed. Alderson could have used Morse to fill the same role as John Mayberry, only with a far better player. His extra salary — either $4 million or $6 million as opposed to Mayberry’s $1.45 million — would have been a smart expenditure. The Mets could have made up most of the money by non-tendering Ruben Tejada, who should be nowhere near Flushing except as a visiting player.
Instead, Alderson took the safe, dumb way, as usual. He is somehow becoming a worse GM as the years go on.
Apparently the deal is for $16 million. Still, a better value than Cuddyer.