Cuddyer the new everyday second baseman?
Well, if Ron Gardenhire has any say in the matter, Michael Cuddyer should be seeing a lot of time at second over the next month or so. Obviously, Gardy has all the say in the matter and he came out Sunday morning and said he plans to use Cuddyer as the regular second baseman until Tsuyoshi Nishioka returns from his broken leg, which is still at least a month away.
I am all for using Cuddyer at second until Yoshi comes back. It allows Gardy to have his best offensive unit out there every day, with Jim Thome DHing and Jason Kubel in right field. With the way the offense has been struggling it seems like Gardy has to do everything he can to get Thome and Kubel as many at bats as possible. Defense is where the question marks start popping up. But frankly, Cuddyer plays just as good of a second base as Luke Hughes can and I am just not worried about Cuddy’s defense enough to stomach a Matt Tolbert/Alexi Casilla infield. Kubel pretty much has to be in the lineup every day, as he and Denard Span are the only two Twins actually hitting. Jim Thome hit the ball well in Sunday’s finale as well and with Joe Mauer out, I think Thome also has to be out there as much as possible.
The bats have woken up over the last few games and it feels like, perhaps, the Twins are finding a rhythm. I say roll with it, let Cuddyer play second every day and get the big bats in the lineup as much as possible. When Mauer returns to action the lineup can be reshuffled as Gardy will undoubtedly have less at bats for Thome at DH, because I am sure Mauer will be DHing a lot more when he returns. If Mauer really does end up needing to DH more than expected I wouldn’t be shocked at all the see Cuddyer playing a lot of second even when Yoshi returns, especially if the Kubel keeps hitting as well as he does.
I really like the flexibility Cuddyer brings to the team. Let’s wait and see how he holds up at second defensively over the next few weeks and if he handles the position well enough I am all for letting him stay there when Yoshi returns. Or at least having him play there when Mauer needs to DH and let Kubel play right field. This way Gardy has options. The Twins won today, making it three in a row, and “that’s what they call a winning streak.” Things are coming together and I feel like Cuddyer playing second could really help the offense take off.