Cuddyer Exemplifies ‘Twins Way’
Due to their injury filled and inconsistent first half, the Minnesota Twins only sent one player to the All-Star Game in Phoenix, Arizona. How fitting, though, for that player to be Michael Cuddyer.
Granted every team in each league is required to be represented by at least one player and many of the Twins usual suspects were not having All-Star seasons by any stretch. But Cuddyer’s selection shows just how valued players of Cuddyer’s type are.
Over the last few years, the Twins have had to deal with season-ending injuries during pivotal parts of their schedule. When a replacement was needed for Justin Morneau for both his season ending back injury as well as season ending concussion, the same name came to mind to step in. That name was Michael Cuddyer. In both of these cases, Cuddyer moved from his normal position of right field to first base to fill in for Morneau. And in each case he more than helped offset the loss of Morneau’s impact bat. You might even be able to say he put the entire team on his back and carried them through adversity.
This is not a herculean feat however. This is simply the way Cuddyer plays the game of baseball. Sure Cuddyer could have refused to move to first base when Morneau went down. He could have also refused to fill in for Tsuyoshi Nishioka at second base earlier this year. He could have refused any number of requests. But he took it as an opportunity to do what was best for the team. This idea itself is the way the Minnesota Twins have been playing baseball for decades. While superstars in big cities play for fame and gaudy stats, countless Twins players have put their stats second and team first. And it shows on the field.
The Twins face a difficult decision this offseason when Cuddyer’s contract expires. But at least in my mind it isn’t a difficult one at all. For a player who puts the team before himself, and is willing to do whatever is needed to get a win, an extension seems like a no brainer.