Michael Cuddyer has decided to retire halfway through his two-year, $21 million contract with the New York Mets, according to multiple media sources.
The two-time All-Star batted .277 with 197 HR and 794 RBI in 1,536 major-league games, and won the 2013 National League batting title with a .331 average. He spent the first 11 seasons of his MLB career with the Minnesota Twins before playing for the Colorado Rockies for three years. He spent a final, injury-prone season with the Mets, batting .259 with 10 HR and 41 RBI in 117 games, and underwent surgery for a core muscle injury after the World Series.
Cuddyer’s playing career began in the Midwest League. He batted .276 with 12 HR, 81 RBI and 16 SB in 129 games with the 1998 Fort Wayne Wizards. Interestingly, he was the team’s starting shortstop, a position he never played again in a regular-season game after that year. He played every position but catcher and shortstop in the major leagues. (He pitched a scoreless inning for the Twins in 2011, giving up two hits and a walk.)
Cuddyer played for the Wizards during their last season as a Twins affiliate. Now that he has retired, only one active player remains from Fort Wayne’s Twins era: A.J. Pierzynski, who batted .280 with 9 HR and 84 RBI in 136 games with the 1995-96 Wizards.
LaTroy Hawkins and Torii Hunter also played for the Wizards when they were affiliated with the Twins, in 1993 and 1994, respectively. Both of them retired after the 2015 season. I wrote about their Midwest League seasons in this post after Hunter announced his retirement. The post includes photos of both of them as Wizards players.