How much is Michael Cuddyer worth?

I am really not going to mention the 2011 season as a whole for the Twins. Just looking forward to the 2012 season hoping for a phenomenal rebound alike that of 1991. It has been reported more than once that one of the Twins' priorities this off-season is re-signing Michael Cuddyer who is a free agent for the first time in his career.

Cuddyer comes off a season where he hit .284/.346/.459 with 20 HRs, drove in 70 and also scored 70. He has been the brightest offensive point for the team last season (as a whole); he also displayed the willingness to play multiple positions (unlike in previous seasons,) which was valuable to the Twins because of the multitude of injuries. He arguably had the best season of his career, looking at WAR (wins over replacement), accumulating a 3.1 WAR, which ranks him as the 81st best position player in the majors in 2011, based on that metric. And no math classes are necessary to figure this out.

In addition, he has been given accolades from the press and the Twins' brass about being a good clubhouse leader. He will be 33 on the beginning of the 2012 season. It has been reported that the Twins have offered him a 2-year, $8 million per season contract that he rejected and it looks like he is willing to explore the market before he commits.

What is a reasonable price (in annual contract terms) for Michael Cuddyer?

Here is one analysis:

I looked at all the 2011 contracts of OF/DH/1B types in MLB (including Cuddyer's), looked at their WAR, calculated average $/WAR and calculated how much 3.1 WAR (Cuddyer's WAR in 2001; career high) is worth based on the average $/WAR for OF/1B/DH for 2011. To keep things fair, I did not add players on minimum salary (like Ben Revere) and to keep things not going mathematically out of hand, I used players where WAR >= 1 for the calculations. Here is the spreadsheet:

So by this calculations, it looks like his 2011 year was worth about $7.725. So the Twins' offer of 2 years/$8 per season (including his year 34 season) is slightly higher that his career high 2011 season.

If you look at those contracts, a lot of them were signed in other financial times, before the country was hit by a recession. If you take the contracts signed before the 2010 season from the spread sheet above it looks like this:

This, arguably. might provide a better picture for a fair price in 2011. The bottom like with this calculation is a little less that $5.6 M a year.

I think that the 2 years, $8M dollar per year offer by the Twins was a generous one and reflects that the Twins believe that Cuddyer is a strong positive presence in the organization. This presence carries a close to $2.5 million premium for the Twins per year, based on his value these days and their offer. My opinion is that the Twins can do better for that money, if Cuddyer decides to keep rejecting that offer.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I agree with you. The most over-rated player in Twins history. He is also responsible for destroying Justin Morneau's career by hitting into a DP in Toronto. That is Crummy's speciality hitting two baggers. I would sign Jason Kubel in a New York minute. He is cheaper, younger, and much much better player. However, watch the Twins get stuck with a large contract because they don't want to insult him. This team really needs leadership at the management level. Do you trust GM Bill Smith to make the right decisions? If you answer yes to this question go check yourself to the ER for an evaluation.

Jeff P said...

Thanks for the analysis, it must have been a lot of work!

However, I am not sure this is the correct way to look at it. I think WAR in the year before the player signed would be better since it represents the latest information that a team had when making the offer.

More importantly, I don't think players that are not eligible for free agency should be used. If they have to take arbitration, that limits the value of the contract that the team has to offer.


thrylos98 said...

it is what it is... And I hope they go all the way in 2012. Go Twins!

there are a lot of ways to look at it. In the beginning I was actually looking at free agent contracts the last 2 years. Not much there. Then, I decided to do this, which pretty much indicates what the value of 3.1 WAR is in current contracts. This kinda allows the comparison for allowing the opportunity for a trade vs. re-signing or signing another free agent.