As our own Adam Peterson pointed out on Tuesday, the acquisition of Hudson does a number of things for Minnesota:
- It solidifies the #2 spot in the batting order, allowing J.J. Hardy to shift down to 7th. This is a strong lineup.
- Worth an estimated 3.05 wins above replacement (based on 700 plate appearances), Hudson improves the Twins totals by just over +1 WAR at second base. Adam can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain this pushes the Twins to an 89-to-90 WAR total.
- Bench strength improves for the second time in as many weeks, with an (initial) bench something like this: Jim Thome, Drew Butera/Wilson Ramos, Nick Punto/Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie.
Hudson's defense has been highly regarded over the last few years of his career, although he (like Torii Hunter) has been the benefactor of a great defensive reputation more recently. Since moving to the National League in 2006 his UZR/150 has suffered: -0.7, +0.5, -7.6 and -3.7 in 2009. In spite of this, he's taken home Gold Glove awards four of the last five seasons.
It's on the offensive side of the ball where the Twins hope Hudson can make an impact, as Hudson hit .283/.357/.417 in spite of a late-season skid and a questionable benching by Joe Torre.
|2009 - Orlando Hudson||149||551||74||156||35||6||9||62||62||99||8||1||.283||.357||.417|
Hudson still profiles as a strong offensive second baseman, in spite of some tailling peripherals over the last couple of years (a few more strikeouts, even more ground balls, increase in chase percentage). He can work a count and walks (9.8% walk rate in 2009), he's always hit his share of line drives (18.5% was a dip last season) and has good gap power.
In spite of a good speed rating, Hudson doesn't steal a lot of bases but he's smart when he does: he's 22-for-26 since 2007.
No matter what specifics you want to discuss in regards to this latest Twins offseason coup, the bottom line is this: the Twins are a better team with Hudson on the roster. At least one more time this winter, the front office has earned themselves a firm handshake and a high five.
For reference, our earlier speculation:
It's already been a day of will-he-won't-he, but it looks like this is on the brink of being official: the Twins' waiting game is about to pay off, and they'll pick up a nice upgrade at second base. In fact, ESPN's Buster Olney hears the deal will be worth about $5 million for, possibly, just one year. More details as they come in. Joe Christensen is still working to confirm.