Michael Cuddyer was an all-around good person on top of his solid 15-year career. His two All-Star appearances came after turning 30 as he played his best during the back end of his career. Cuddyer ended up spending the final season of his career with the New York Mets.
Mets legend Michael Cuddyer pic.twitter.com/bIPcswvYw2
— Vlad (@MichaeIWacha) April 15, 2020
Cuddyer spent the bulk of his career with the Minnesota Twins before heading to the Colorado Rockies to play in another cold climate. He hit .307 with a batting title during his three seasons in the Rocky Mountains, which earned him a two-year, $21 million contract heading into 2015.
Cuddyer joined Curtis Granderson and David Wright as another great leader in the Mets clubhouse. He and Wright shared a close relationship as Wright idolized him back when he was in high school. Wright always wanted to shadow him and shared his characteristics.
On the field, Cuddyer struggled to find his footing and was not producing at his expected rate. He only slashed .244/.294/.367 but still played every day. Cuddyer picked things up during the second half of the season in more of a platoon role. The combination of a knee injury and the additions of Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes limited his playing time.
Through 39 games in the second half, he hit .302/.352/.458 and proved to be a useful pinch hitter. He batted .316 in those opportunities. Despite not living up to the contract given to him he found ways to help the Mets to the playoffs.
— Mets Home Run a Day (@MetsHRADay) May 11, 2020
Cuddyer only had one hit in the postseason but was most play playing against lefties at that point. With the Mets outfield going into the 2016 season, it was clear Cuddyer did not fit into the equation.
He did something extremely rare for any player, let alone one expecting $12.5 million dollars. Cuddyer said he could not play up to his expectations anymore and decided to retire. The decision to retire shows the type of player and person he was. He probably could have stretched out his career another couple seasons but made a noble decision and called it quits.