Tuesday, February 9, 2010
AND HERE COME THE TWINS
Last week the signing of veteran home run hitter Jim Thome and now another uncharacteristic Twins off season move will solidify even more their blossoming roster. Minnesota locked up free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson, or O-Dog as he is known, after his negotiations with the Washington Nationals fell through.
The two time all-star Hudson signed a one-year $5 million dollar contract with the Twins. Acquiring Hudson is a huge upgrade for the Twins lineup. The largest difference will come on the offensive side of the ball. Last season, the Twins second basemen (plural) batted a measly .209 at the plate collectively. In 2009, Hudson batted .283, had an on base percentage of .357, and hit from both sides of the plate.
He has also won 4 Gold Glove awards at second base, including last season with the Dodgers. Many scouts have commented on how Hudson's glove work has deteriorated since his first years in the league with Toronto. Some believe his last two teams, the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks, are partly to blame. Neither team stresses the importance of great fielding, and that can have an effect on a player (he still won Gold Gloves four out of the last five years). The Twins stress strong defensive play and have great fielding coaches. Look for O-Dog to return to his usual defensive form.
Even though Hudson is 32 years old (still young in baseball years) he has shown that he can still play the game on both sides of the ball. Dodgers fans are happy to see him gone after he slumped towards the end of last season and was benched by Joe Torre. Despite his late mediocre play, also factoring into his benching was the lights out performance by replacement Rafael Furcal. How quickly Dodgers fans forget Hudson was arguably the best second baseman in baseball the first two months of last season. Granted he cooled off as the season progressed, but even those cooler numbers were head and shoulders better than what the Twins were working with.
One National League scout called the Twins the team to beat in the Central. Even if Hudson only makes a small difference for our team, say help us win one or two more games, wouldn't that be enough? Three out of the last four years the Central has been determined by only one game.
Side note: The Twins recently signed Outfielder Jacque Jones to a minor league contract. After batting .089 in spring training last year for the Cincinnati Reds, they released him. Jones told Twins officials he was interested in reviving his career and would play Triple-A ball for a chance to prove himself. He has been working with a hitting coach, and thinks he can make a difference if he is called up the the big league roster (I doubt it).
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