The Minnesota Twins announced today that the club has exercised Michael Cuddyer’s 2011 option valued at $10.5 million.
The option is part of the four-year deal Cuddyer signed in 2008. The right fielder will make $8.5 million in 2010, the third year of the $33.5 million pact.
“Obviously, I was excited,” Cuddyer said. “This is where I want to be, I’ve made no secret about that. To know that I’m going to be here at least two more years is gratifying.”
Cuddyer, 30, is coming off a career year in which he batted .276 with 32 home runs, 94 RBI, and 73-extra base hits.
The slugging outfielder was a major contributor to the surge that propelled the Twins past the rival Detroit Tigers to win the American League Central pennant.
Cuddyer moved from his customary right field to first base when Justin Morneau was forced from the lineup with a severe back injury in September.
In his new role as starting first baseman, Cuddyer produced hit .282 with eight homers and 24 RBIs, all while delivering clutch hits, seemingly on a nightly basis.
“He’s a leader on the field, he’s a leader in the clubhouse and he had a tremendous year,” Twins general manager Bill Smith said. “We’re thrilled to pick this up and keep him here at least through 2011.”
Cuddyer’s 32 home runs led the Twins this season, but he was also among league leaders in many other categories.
He ranked in the top 10 in the American League in extra-base hits (sixth, 73), total bases (ninth, 306) and home runs (32, 10th). He was also 15th in slugging percentage (.520).
After two injury-plagued and largely-ineffective seasons, Cuddyer was very happy to be such a big part of the Twins success in 2009 and hopes he can continue to contribute in a big way going forward.
“I continue to mature and continue to try to get better, year in and year out,” Cuddyer said. “I feel good about myself, personally, but more than that, I feel good about the direction where this team and this organization is heading.”