In a move that many predicted, Orlando Hudson has finalized on a deal that would bring him to the Minnesota Twins. ESPN.com reports that the deal will be a 1-year contract worth 5 million.
Hudson is a league-average offensive second basemen and middle-of-the-road defensive player. Don’t let his Gold Glove in 2009 fool you, Orlando has been mediocre or worse in the field for 4 straight seasons now. Back on the Blue Jays he was elite in the field, but at age 32, the man has lost a large amount of range. UZR (or Ultimate Zone Rating) is an effective method for calculating how many runs above or below average a player is on defense. This statistic factors the range of the infielder along with his arm accuracy and strength. In 2009, Hudson was 3.3 runs below average in the field. He’s not going to save the Twins many runs in 2010, but he won’t be hurting them too badly either.
You might wonder why anyone would care about a team signing a simply adequate 32-year-old second baseman. Well, you have to look at who Hudson will be replacing, in Nick Punto. Last season, the incumbent second basemen hit a paltry .228 with an unbelievably poor .284 slugging percentage. Although Punto has been an above average defender in his career, Hudson’s gigantic offensive upgrade more than makes up for the defensive difference.
Hudson will undoubtedly be batting second in the Twins batting order that is beginning to look top-notch. A little way into the season, they could see this projected line-up (Once they insert Thome into the DH-role and call up prospect Danny Valencia):
1. Denard Span – CF
2. Orlando Hudson – 2B
3. Joe Mauer – C
4. Justin Morneau – 1B
5. Jason Kubel – LF
6. Jim Thome – DH
7. Michael Cuddyer – RF
8. J.J. Hardy -SS
9. Brendan Harris/Danny Valencia – 3B
Honestly, with those players performing to their highest abilities, the Twins lineup could be in the running for the best in Major League Baseball.
Things are looking up for the Twin cities in 2010.