Michael Cuddyer, Rockies agree

Updated: December 16, 2011, 7:41 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN.com

The Colorado Rockies have reached a three-year agreement with free-agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer.

The contract is reportedly worth about $30 million.

Cuddyer, 32, is a career .272 hitter in 11 seasons with the Minnesota Twins. He hit .284 with 20 homers in 2011.

He brings a big bat and a veteran presence to Colorado, where general manager Dan O'Dowd has talked about changing the clubhouse culture after a disappointing 2011 season.

Cuddyer was Minnesota's first-round choice and the ninth overall pick in the 1997 draft. He became expendable when the Twins signed outfielder Josh Willingham to a three-year, $21 million deal earlier this week.

The Rockies created some room on their payroll for Cuddyer when they recently traded closer Huston Street to San Diego, and sent third baseman Ian Stewart to the Chicago Cubs in a separate deal.

Cuddyer has played first base, second base, third base and both corner outfield spots in the majors, so he gives Colorado manager Jim Tracy the luxury of using him at multiple positions. His arrival also means Seth Smith could return to a reserve role or serve as trade bait.

Cuddyer also was pursued by the Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners.

Jerry Crasnick is a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer

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