Even after everything we've heard about the Twins' interest in Josh Willingham, I never actually expected that roster spot to go to anyone but Michael Cuddyer. But it seems as though the front office felt they either couldn't wait any longer for an answer from Cuddyer, felt he would ultimately say "no, thanks", or felt he was asking too much, because pending a physical it sounds like our right-handed power bat is coming in the form of the ex-Marlins, ex-Nationals and ex-Athletics slugger.
Currently, all we understand about this potential agreement is that it will be for multiple years (obviously). With Cuddyer's rumored offer sitting between $24 million and $26 million over three years, it wouldn't surprise me to see Willingham sign for slightly less per season. That's not as much as I would have envisioned coming into the off-season, and is one of the biggest reasons he didn't appear on my blueprint, but nevertheless it's reasonable to assume the contract will be in the range of two years and $16 million to three years and $24 million. If it's more than that I'd be surprised.
History will spin an interesting narrative on the end of the Cuddyer era. And sadly, the fact that it is probably the end of the Jason Kubel era will likely end up little more than a footnote. Joe Christensen notes the club hasn't made any progress with discussions on that front.
Objectively, this seems like a good move for the Twins. Willingham is likely to sign for a little less money, and by allowing Cuddyer to go elsewhere the Twins net themselves two more picks early in June's draft. Subjectively, there's going to be some sadness with the departure of a life long Twins player. Cuddyer has always been a great guy, by all accounts, and has never given anything less than all of himself for the team. Respect must be paid.
While we're waiting for all of the details to come in, here's a little backlist reading on the Willingham and Cuddyer situation. Read on, and we'll have more for you later.
- Last night's Twins notes
- The market hinges on Cuddyer
- Twins become of of the favorites for Willingham
- Cuddyer allegedly wants more money or more years
- Bobomojo compares Willingham and Cuddyer a couple weeks ago
- Aaron Gleeman did the same thing last night
- Willingham as one of ten right-handed bats the Twins could target
As a parting visual, here's Bobomojo's graphic from his post comparing the two right-handed corner outfielders.