Why Michael Cuddyer Would Be A Bad Signing For The Seattle Mariners


After receiving a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Colorado Rockies, Michael Cuddyer should be entirely OFF the Mariners radar.

If the Mariners sign agent attached to a qualifying offer, they will be giving up their first round pick in the 2015 MLB First Year Player Draft. That would be the 21st pick in the draft– since they’re good enough now to have a pick higher than ten, their first rounder is not protected.

So, when dealing with free agents, the Mariners need to consider the 21st pick a necessary part of the deal for said player.

Michael Cuddyer is not worth the pick AND the money he would garner in free agency. Had he not received a qualifying offer, I would be far more partial to the Mariners giving him a hard look.

But as it stands, I think Cuddyer will accept the qualifying offer from the Rockies for two reasons: 1. because he is 36 years old and doesn’t have too many years left; and 2. because he is not worth $15.3 million for a season of his services.

If we use WAR as a general indicator, the ‘going rate’ for 1.0 WAR is roughly $7-8 million in the MLB with inflation. Therefore, Cuddy would need to provide 2.0 WAR to be worth a $15.3 million price tag. In his 14-year career, Michael Cuddyer has surpassed or equaled 2.0 WAR on only 4 occasions, three of those four coming before 2010.

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Cuddy is a career .279/.347/.466 hitter, though those numbers were inflated by three seasons batting 81 games at Coors Field in Colorado.

Statistically, Cuddyer could be valuable for the 2015 Seattle Mariners. However, two factors keep me from justifying signing him: defensive value and heath.

First with defense. In 2002 Cuddyer was worth 0.3 defensive WAR playing first base, third base, and right field. Since then he hasn’t registered a positive dWAR season. And in the last three seasons in Colorado, Michael Cuddyer has accumulated a -4.7 dWAR at first base, third base, and in right field.

The Mariners would be delusional to play Cuddyer in the field more than 10% of his games played. But even then, his poor mobility would have an adverse effect on the final score of many games.

Heath is another major concern with Michael Cuddyer. He has exceed 150 games played only 3 times in his career, and only played 49 games in 2014 with shoulder and hamstring problems.

If the Mariners paid the considered ‘going rate’ for Michael Cuddyer this offseason– 2-years/$20 million– they would need at least 3.0 total WAR from him over 2 seasons. Without any defensive value, he would need a pretty substantial batting average and power numbers for the Mariners to get their value out of him.

And with that, the Mariners would be giving up the 21st pick. (Ian Kennedy and J.P. Arencibia are recent notable 21st draft picks.)

With Michael Cuddyer’s lack of versatility, health issues, and cost, I think the Mariners should steer well clear of him this offseason unless he comes at a cost of less than $7 million per season.