Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 12/16/11
MINNEAPOLIS - It appears as if Michael Cuddyer's time with the Minnesota Twins is over. Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Friday that it is "improbable, but not impossible" that the team would re-sign Cuddyer after signing outfielder Josh Willingham to a three-year deal. Minutes later, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reported that Cuddyer has agreed to a new deal with the Colorado Rockies. According to Heyman, Cuddyer will receive 31.5 million over three years. It will be the first time the 32-year-old Cuddyer wears a uniform besides that of Minnesota, where he spent the first 11 years of his career and made the All-Star team for the first time in 2011. "I think everybody knows we're still looking for pitching as well," Ryan said Friday, when asked about re-signing Cuddyer. The Twins had an offer out to Cuddyer, who took his time deciding. Not wanting to be left without a viable outfielder, Minnesota signed Willingham before Cuddyer made his decision. "When you draft and sign players along the way, there's no secret that we try to retain players here. Ultimately, it started to get to the point of no return," Ryan said. "We didn't want to be left without, and consequently this is a situation that seemed to be the right decision at the time. I suspect it's going to be a good fit through the next three years. It is sensitive. I think everybody agrees with that. Players, on occasion, they have decisions to make and clubs have decisions to make. We ultimately made one here, and we're happy for it." Willingham was asked in a conference call Friday if Cuddyer's situation had any impact on his decision. "I can't say that I thought about that," Willingham said. "I know and respect Michael Cuddyer, being a competitor and playing against him. I know that his whole career has been with the Twins' organization. That's not something that I thought about when I was making my decision." Cuddyer led the Twins with 20 home runs in 2011 and had 70 RBI in 139 games. He was one of Minnesota's most versatile players, as he was able to move from right field to first and second base - and even pitcher for a game. After the Twins drafted him in the first round (ninth overall) in 1997, Cuddyer broke into the majors late in the 2001 season. During his 11-year career with Minnesota, he hit .272 with 141 home runs and drove in 580 runs. But the Twins will miss his presence in the clubhouse as well, as he was one of the team's leaders off the field. "He's been there as long as I've been there for the ball club," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's a great relationship. He's a great player. As we've all said, these guys put in a lot of effort and a lot of work to get to free agency. It's their right to go out there and test the market, and that's exactly what Michael's doing."
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