Twins overspend on veteran, again

There's something to be said for stability, I suppose ...

    The Minnesota Twins have picked up outfielder Michael Cuddyer's $10.5 million option for 2011.


    The option is part of a contract Cuddyer signed in 2008. He will make $8.5 million in 2010 and be paid $33.5 million over the life of the four-year deal. If the Twins had declined the option, they would have owed Cuddyer a $1 million buyout.

For a franchise that routinely cries poor, $10.5 million is a decent chunk of change.

Particularly for a player like Michael Cuddyer.

Cuddyer is a good hitter but a subpar outfielder, resulting in a player who is, at his best, worth less than $10 million. Granted, considering the $1 million buyout, the Twins essentially have committed to spending $9.5 million on Cuddyer in 2011. And $9.5 million isn't much more than what he was worth this year, and in 2007 (2008 was a disaster).

Of course the problem is that Cuddyer has entered his decline phase. He'll turn 31 next spring and (more to the point) 32 in 2011. He might be just as good in 2011 as he was in 2009 ... but we know that he probably won't be. We know that instead of being a (roughly) $9 million player, as he was this year, he's more likely to be an $8 million player or a $7 million player.

No, the difference between Cuddyer's salary and his value is not a great deal of money. But the Twins have a history of overspending on decent players while complaining about the high price of truly great players. Remember, it was just a year ago that they couldn't afford Johan Santana but quite happily blew $9 million on Craig Monroe and Livan Hernandez. And if they're not able to keep Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer in the long term, their money mismanagement is simply going to drop them from contention.