The Willingham, Cuddyer conundrum

Even with Josh Willingham agreeing to a three-year deal worth $21-million, the Twins are still in contract talks with free-agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer. Nobody knows if Cuddyer will re-sign with the Twins, and the addition of Willingham has created a puzzling story.
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The Twins made the signing of Josh Willingham official Thursday. The former Oakland Athletics outfielder signed the dotted line on a three-year, $21-million contract. He is expected to start in left or right field.

Where Willingham starts depends on whether or not Michael Cuddyer re-signs with the Twins. Reports earlier this week indicated that Willingham's signing meant the end of Cuddyer's 11-year run in Minnesota.

The report was evidently inaccurate because general manager Terry Ryan says the Twins are still in talks with Cuddyer about returning.

The Cuddyer camp has been very quiet throughout this process and it's creating quite the puzzle. Will he re-sign or sign elsewhere. Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan doesn't think Cuddyer will be back, but he says if Cuddyer does re-sign, it might be because the Twins don't think Justin Morneau will be healthy.

When and where Cuddyer signs is unknown, but if he decides to move on from Minnesota, it will be difficult for Willingham to replace him. Pioneer Press columnist Tom Powers believes Willingham's right-handed bat will be nice, but it will be impossible to replace one of baseball's real class acts.

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