I was reading Mets Fever on Tuesday, where Ed Ryan was musing about the possibility of adding Michael Cuddyer to address the Mets' corner outfield needs. I'm not a big fan of Cuddyer; he's having a terrible season in 2008 and only recently migrated to right field on a full-time basis. Cuddyer strikes me as more of a potential platoon partner for Ryan Church, although he has not hit lefties as hard this season as he has throughout the course of his career. He's also in the first year of a 3-year, $24 million contract with a club option in 2011. Verdict: Pass!
What was so amazing to me is that Ed was speculating about Cuddyer based on a Charley Waters column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press this week:
It will be interesting whether the Twins try to package Michael Cuddyer and Livan Hernandez in a trade for a slugging third baseman before the July 31 deadline, saving $20 million in guaranteed money to Cuddyer and $2.5 million to Hernandez ... One problem, though: finding a team willing to take on the salaries. The Twins say they haven't had room for (Francisco) Liriano in the starting rotation.
I guess it would be interesting in the sense to see how quickly a general manager who gave up a slugging third baseman for that package would be fired. Cuddyer is a better player than his 2008 numbers indicate, but his poor start means that the Twins are destined to get a poor return if they trade him while his value is low. Hernandez, meanwhile, is simply the worst starting pitcher in baseball.
He actually got off to a fast start in 2008, winning his first three starts and giving the Twins seven good innings each time out. But in 20 starts overall, Hernandez has a 5.44 ERA - nearly a run and a half higher than the league average - and a 1.624 WHIP. Those numbers rise to a 6.05 ERA and a 1.747 WHIP in the 17 starts made after April 11, which are frighteningly bad numbers.
In case you aren't convinced of Hernandez's awfulness, here's one more stat to consider - opponents are batting .342/.368/.506 against Hernandez in 2008. That's like turning every hitter you face into the 1971 version of this Hall of Famer.
It makes all the sense in the world for the Twins to want to trade Cuddyer and Hernandez, but I can't imagine there's another team in baseball who would want both of them. Certainly not the Mets, who would then be stuck with Cuddyer for two more years and might even make the grave mistake of trying to find room for Hernandez in their rotation. I wouldn't give up Jimmie Feldman for that package of players.