Extension offered, but Cuddyer waits

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 5, 2011 - 12:05 AM

A two-year deal was on the table, but the All-Star wants to negotiate his contract after the season.

Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer

Photo: Chris Carlson, Associated Press

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ANAHEIM, CALIF. - Knowing Michael Cuddyer can become a free agent at season's end, the Twins recently approached him about a contract extension, and two people familiar with the discussions said the team floated a trial balloon: two years for $16 million.

The conversations went no further, the two sources said, with Cuddyer focused on getting the Twins back to the playoffs and preferring to hold those negotiations in the offseason.

"I don't comment on contractual discussions," Twins General Manager Bill Smith said Thursday. "I don't confirm them, and I don't deny them."

Cuddyer, the Twins' lone All-Star this year, also declined to comment before Thursday night's game against the Angels.

The discussions came to light after Sunday's nonwaiver trade deadline and during a month when players can still be traded once they are placed on waivers, but one team insider said it had nothing to do with a potential trade.

The Twins were trying to get a jump on what figures to be one of their biggest offseason priorities -- re-signing Cuddyer, the only player who has been a part of all six division titles since 2002.

Cuddyer, 32, is making $10.5 million this season, so $8 million per year would represent a pay cut. The last time he signed a deal with the Twins, in January 2008, it was a three-year, $24 million deal. The deal included an option for this year, which the Twins picked up following the 2009 season.

Last offseason, Cuddyer's agent, Casey Close, made multiple overtures to the Twins, hoping to spur discussions on a new contract, but the team opted to let this play out through the season.

Until recently, both sides had expressed a desire to wait until after the season to begin any negotiations. Cuddyer has made it very clear he would like to remain with the Twins, but he figures to have many suitors on the free-agent market.

He hit two home runs in Wednesday's 11-4 victory over the Angels, including a grand slam that gave the Twins an 8-4 lead in the fifth inning.

Entering Thursday, Cuddyer was batting .301 with 18 homers and 60 RBI, and in his previous 80 games, he was batting .325 with 15 homers, 17 doubles and 56 RBI.

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