The first free agent domino has fallen. The Mets have signed outfielder Michael Cuddyer to a two-year contract, according to a team announcement. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the deal will pay Cuddyer $21 million over two years, with the Mets paying $8.5 million in 2015 and $12.5 million in 2016, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported.
The move represents an aggressive first strike in free agency for the Mets, who will forfeit the fifteenth overall pick in next year's draft to sign Cuddyer. Cuddyer was thought to be interested in accepting the Rockies' qualifying offer, a one-year, $15.3 million deal, but instead will head to the Mets on the multi-year deal that he was said to be pursuing.
Sources indicate that the Rockies "made it known from the get-go" that they were willing to discuss a multi-year deal with Cuddyer, meaning that they were not limiting their negotiations to only one-year options. It is unclear if Colorado made a two-year offer to Cuddyer before he signed with New York.
Cuddyer joins Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares in the Mets' outfield mix, with Matt den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis as backup options. Cuddyer will also likely see some time against left-handers at first base, serving as part of a quasi-platoon with Lucas Duda at the position.
In just 49 games with Colorado last season, Cuddyer hit .332/.376/.579 after winning the National League batting title with a .331/.389/.530 line in an All-Star season in 2013. He will turn 36 at the beginning of next season, causing some to be wary of health concerns as he ages.
For his fourteen-year career with the Twins (2001-2011) and Rockies (2012-2014), Cuddyer is a lifetime .279/.347/.466 hitter with 187 home runs and 753 RBI.