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Updated: November 5th, 2011 9:34am
Phillies reportedly making strong push for Michael Cuddyer

Phillies reportedly making strong push for Michael Cuddyer

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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The Philadelphia Phillies signed one former Minnesota Twins slugger, Jim Thome, on Friday. Could they be adding another?

According to CSNPhilly.com, the Phillies are in serious pursuit of outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who could help fill a potential early-season hole at first base for the injured Ryan Howard. The report speculates that Cuddyer could then move to the outfield to take the place of free agent Raul Ibanez.

After enduring a 99-loss season in 2011, Cuddyer is extremely interested in exploring the free agent market to its fullest. And even if the Twins were to make the best offer, that wouldn't guarantee Cuddyer's return.

The Phillies' payroll approached $166 million in 2011, and they are currently tied up for approximately $114 million heading into free agency. That figure doesn't include hefty arbitration raises for Cole Hamels and Hunter Pence, but the Phillies do have money to play with.

The Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox have also been linked to Cuddyer in recent weeks.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Michael Cuddyer, Jim Thome
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