This offseason we said goodbye to Michael Cuddyer and some other notable Twins. They may never play for the Twins again, but their careers are far from over. So how are they doing with their new clubs? Let’s check.
The most notable departure this offseason was probably Cuddyer, who was the longest-tenured Twin until he left for the Rockies. Cuddyer seems to be thriving in Colorado’s ultra-hitter-friendly environment. He hit a massive home run last night, his second on the season, and he owns a .370/.396/.696 line. Entering last night’s game, he also led the NL in doubles with seven. That stellar production might make Twins fans jealous, except that the man Minnesota brought in to replace Cuddyer, Josh Willingham, has been on a tear of his own with five homers and a 1.187 OPS. So far in this young season, it looks like all parties are benefiting from these free agency moves.
Jason Kubel is not hitting quite as well as Cuddyer up to this point. In 33 at bats, he owns a .242 average and just two extra base hits, both doubles, for the Diamondbacks. He has also struck out 10 times already, though we might be able to blame that on the Diamondbacks, for whom strikeouts seem to be contagious. Arizona hitters struck out over 1,200 times last season, and they whiffed an MLB record 1,529 times in 2010. The Twins did not bring in a player specifically to replace Kubel’s left-handed bat, but Ryan Doumit does fill a similar role in the outfield and as a DH in addition to his catching. Doumit has gotten off to a slow start as well, hitting .219 with no homers.
The biggest pitching departure was that of Joe Nathan, who left town when the Rangers offered him a surprisingly large contract. We’ve already seen Nathan pitch this year, as he pitched in two games and recorded a save against the Twins last weekend. Other than that, Nathan has had mixed results. He already has two losses and a 5.14 ERA through seven innings pitched. On the other hand, he has struck out eight and walked only one. The Twins only signed one Major League free agent in the bullpen, and that was Joel Zumaya. Zumaya will miss the entire season recovering from Tommy John Surgery.
Those were the key departures from last offseason, but how about some of the Twins who left in previous years?
Jason Bartlett is hitting .196 for Baltimore, but he does have three homers. After winning a World Series ring with the Cards last year, Nick Punto is 4-13 with a double and three RBI for Boston in 2012. Former Minnesota middle infielders Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson are both with the Padres now, and both are struggling at the plate. Bartlett is batting a wimpy .189 through 37 at bats, while Hudson has fared even worse at .139 in 39 at bats. On the mound, Dodger reliever Matt Guerrier yielded a game winning sac fly to Ryan Braun after walking the bases loaded in extra innings last night. Overall, he has a respectable 2.70 ERA through 6.2 innings and four strikeouts.