Tag: Orlando Hudson

Padres Starting Position Players 2011- Who ARE These Guys?

Adrian Gonzalez? Gone. David Eckstein? History. The Hairstons? Adios.

Miguel Tejada? Auf Weidersehen. Yorvit Torrealba? Movin on..

You get the picture. The Padres will be a different team in 2011.

The question becomes “Is different better?” I know that what I see on paper right now looks much better than the last two seasons teams did at this same point. Lets take a look at what should be the Padres starting line up for opening day.

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MLB Predictions: 10 Unfamiliar Names Who Will Make Huge Impacts in 2011

Pitchers and catchers report in a little over three weeks. It’s been a short offseason for the Rangers and the Giants, but for everybody else, Spring Training can’t get here quick enough. In this latest installment of MLB Predictions, we will look at players that we think will make a huge impact on their respective teams this upcoming season.

Some of the players you are going to see have already been up to “the show” and some even had significant time last year, but some of the players you may not be familiar with because of the smaller markets they may play in or may wonder who will be taking over for departed free agents. Undoubtedly there will be omissions so feel free to add who you think should be on here. Enjoy!

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San Diego Padres Shake Up Infield, Trade for Jason Bartlett, Sign Orlando Hudson

I will say, if nothing else, the San Diego Padres have had one interesting offseason.

I really believed that after surprising baseball by winning 90 games, finishing just two games behind the San Francisco Giants and seeing a close to 200,000 attendance increase, the Padres would capitalize on their 2010 by adding to their team for 2011. Instead, well, I have really have no idea what they are doing.

For every one step forward, they have taken two steps back. The latest examples of this? Their two middle-infield acquisitions this week.


After a couple of weeks of going back and forth with the Tampa Bay Rays, the two sides finally completed a trade that sends SS Jason Bartlett and a PTBNL to the Padres for minor leaguers Adam Russell, Brandon Gomes, Cesar Ramos and Cole Figueroa. Then the Padres signed 2B Orlando Hudson to a two-year, $11.5 million contract.

Let’s start with the Bartlett trade.

What on Earth are the Padres doing on this one? I don’t care if the four guys the Padres gave up are the Barry Horowitz’s of the Padres’ minor league system. There is no way I am giving up four bodies for Bartlett. That just can’t happen.

Bartlett’s 2011 season was less than stellar. If you take out Bartlett’s 2009 season, he has averaged a .284/.343/.369 hitting line with three home runs throughout his career. Well, that was pretty much in line with what Bartlett produced in 2010.

Bartlett hit .254/.324/.350 with four home runs in 135 games. Outside of his low average, everything else fell into place.

GM Jed Hoyer had to ask himself if his 2009 season was an aberration or if Bartlett had a really down year because he seemed to be hurt all the time. It’s a fair question, but I think 2009 was just an aberration. Apparently, Hoyer did not.

That’s the only explanation can I think of because not only did the Padres give up four players for Bartlett, but they are going to have to pay him somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million in arbitration in 2011. For all that, the Padres might have been better off just bringing back Miguel Tejada on a one-year deal earlier in the offseason before he signed with the Giants.

I will get into the Rays side of things and the four players they acquired in a separate post.

Now on to the Hudson signing.

I have always liked Hudson as a player, but I don’t see how Hoyer can justify giving him a two-year deal.

In 2008, Hudson hit .305/.367/.450 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and in the offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers only gave him a one-year deal. In 2009, Hudson hit .283/.357/.417 with the Dodgers and still only managed to get a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins.

So now Hudson has his lowest OPS of his career in 2010 with the Twins, only played in 126 games, and gets a two-year deal? Makes zero sense to me.

I can understand the Padres thinking with the acquisitions of Hudson and Bartlett. Their goal is to win with pitching and defense in 2011. Hudson and Bartlett should form one of the best double play combinations in baseball.

However, the goal of the game of baseball is to score more runs than your opponent. I have a hard time seeing how the Padres are going to able to outscore their opponents in 2011. I also have a hard time trying to figure out why the Padres would give up four players for Bartlett and why they would give Hudson a two-year deal.

I guess it’s just another confusing day in the offseason of the San Diego Padres.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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MLB Free Agency: Power Ranking the 20 Best Hitters Still Available

The winter meetings have seen a lot of action so far.

Carl Crawford signed with the Boston Red Sox yesterday for seven years and 142 million dollars. This was in the wake of the huge contract given to Jayson Werth a week earlier from the Washington Nationals.

After the top two hitters on the market have signed, the remaining players have a starting point in negotiations and there are still plenty of quality hitters remaining for teams looking to fill out their lineups.

Here are the top 20 hitters remaining.

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Dodgers’ Musical Bases: Weighing Five LA Second Baseman Possibilities for 2011

One of the main concerns for GM Ned Colletti and the Los Angeles Dodgers this offseason is finding a permanent solution for second base. For Dodgers fans, the last few seasons have been confusing in the middle infield, as several journeyman veterans and utility players have stepped in, taking turns manning the right side of the infield.

The upcoming season appears to be heading in the same direction. However, it is also possible with major names on the free agent market, the Dodgers will be able to sign a solid fielder with a productive bat to a multi-year deal.

With the future beyond the 2011 season in mind, let’s examine the possibilities of a second baseman with stability-type qualities for the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Also check out: One Spot Left: Should the LA Dodgers Sign Vicente Padilla or Brandon Webb?

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Players The Toronto Blue Jays Should Target Through Free Agency Or Trade

So Alex Anthopoulos has found a manager in John Farrell.

Now he has to continue upgrading his team through trades and free agency.

The first thing to note is that it is highly unlikely Anthopoulos signs a Type A free agent. This is because his first-round pick is not protected, and that is what he would have to give up to sign them.

So Manny Ramirez is out of the question.

The second thing is that Anthopoulos has stated he is willing to go after Type A free agents if the price is right. I understand this, but it is highly unlikely that will happen.

Type A free agents almost always get big money. If they are not worth a lot of money, then teams would not want to give up the draft pick, either.

As a result, I see them targeting players that are not on the Type A free-agent list.

The needs of this team are not as great as some would perceive.

One upgrade needed would be catcher. This is because John Buck has already signed with the Florida Marlins (who snubbed Toronto in the Dan Uggla trade), and so we need a starting catcher.

We have a quality backup in Jose Molina, so some say we should just get JP Arencibia to start. But it is quite risky to throw a stud prospect into the fire immediately.

Also, Anthopoulos has stated that catcher and shortstop are the two most important positions. As a result, expect Anthopoulos to address the catcher position.

Another area he needs to address is the bullpen. This is the place the Blue Jays are losing the most players from.

Jason Frasor, Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg need to be replaced. That is going to cost a lot of money.

Then there is the infield. The Blue Jays need to address the first base position.

Lyle Overbay is most likely not coming back, so they need a starter there. Brett Wallace, who was supposed to be his heir, was dealt for Anthony Gose.

They also need a third baseman, as they released last year’s starter in Edwin Encarnacion.

Another option to fill third base is to get a second baseman and move Aaron Hill to the hot corner. I would not recommend it, as Hill has been outstanding at second base.

He can also get an outfielder and put Bautista at third base, but that seems a bad idea as well because Bautista is excellent in right field.

Also Anthopoulos loves to stockpile starting pitchers. We saw this in the draft, as he kept picking pitcher after pitcher in the first two rounds, picking five in all.

So these are the needs. Now let’s get to the players he should target.

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New York Mets 2011 Season: Who’s on Second?

Amidst the pursuit for the next New York Mets manager, several on the field questions still plague the Mets in the coming months. Besides the evident issues facing the bullpen, the most pressing matter I see facing Alderson’s Mets is who will be manning the second base position next year.

I’ve gone through some possible options out there for the Mets next year, some internal and external, but none named Luis Castillo.

I got to tell you though; many of them are looking pretty promising. Let’s just hope these options look as good on the field as they do on paper.

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MLB Free Agents: The 10 Most Underrated Players on the Free Agent Market

Every offseason the free-agent class is headlined by a small group of big-name players. In 2008, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were the big names. Last year, it was probably John Lackey. In 2010, Cliff Lee is undoubtedly the biggest fish in a very, very small pond.

The problem is, players of this ilk command huge salaries and usually end up on big-market teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets. The most interesting part of free agency is to be found when one looks past the big names at bargain players—those whom people had forgotten about.

Even when looking at the underrated players on the market, this year’s free-agent class is still poor.

Not to kill the suspense but, no, Cliff Lee will not be appearing on this list.

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Minnesota Twins’ Orlando Hudson Files For Free Agency: What’s On Second?

The Minnesota Twins appear to have a revolving door at second base.

When the 2009 season began, the Abbott and Costello routine was, “Who’s on third? I don’t know.”

Now it’s, “What’s the guy’s name on second?”

This past week, eight Twins declared for free agency. Among them was second baseman Orlando Hudson.

For the four-time Gold Glover and two-time All-Star, it begs the question—what is it wrong with Hudson?

If Hudson does not re-sign with the Twins, and the odds of that happening appear unlikely, it will be four teams in four years for the switch-hitting second baseman. 

Between two stints on the disabled list Hudson played 126 games at second this season. That’s the most since Luis Castillo played in 142 games in 2006.

For the Twins, they will be searching for their sixth second baseman in eight years.

The last player to hold the position longer than two consecutive seasons was Luis Rivas, the Twins second baseman from 2001-2004.

Hudson hit .268 with six home runs and 24 doubles. He stole 10 bases in 13 attempts. Next month he will turn 33, and after being paid $5 million this last season, he is expendable.

Manager Ron Gardenhire and general manager Bill Smith are going to give Alexi Casilla another shot to secure the position for 2011.

In 2008 Casilla played 95 games at second. A season in which he hit seven of his eight home runs and batted a career best .281. 

In 2009 Casilla and Nick Punto split duties at second. The Twins did not pick up Punto’s option for 2011, so until they make their next move it looks like second base is Casilla’s to lose.

It’s difficult to fathom what Gardenhire is looking for in a second baseman.

It was no secret that Gardenhire did not appreciate Hudson’s attempt to play through his injuries this past season. It got to the point where Gardenhire did not believe Hudson’s assessment on his readiness, and the fact that he would repeatedly wince and grimace while trying to play hurt. 

Typically not a power position, the Twins have had two multiple gold glove winners making the turn at second. Along with Hudson the Twins had Luis Castillo playing second in 2006 and 2007.

Every regular second baseman since Rivas, Castillo, Punto, Casilla and Hudson, all have been switch-hitting singles hitters with some speed and little power. 

In his one and a half seasons with the Twins, Castillo hit .299, the highest among the group, while Hudson hit .268, the second highest.

The problem is both Castillo and Hudson came with price tags north of $5 million, a price the Twins don’t seem willing to pay long term.

In Casilla the Twins appear to have another Punto clone.

The difference is Punto was going to cost the club $5 million in 2011, while Casilla was only paid $427,000 in 2010.

Here’s how the three compare:

Orlando Hudson: 32 years old, .280 career batting average with 83 home runs, one every 50.2 at bats. Salary in 2010—$5 million .

Nick Punto: 32 years old, .247 career batting average, 13 home runs, one every 189 at bats. Salary in 2010—$4 million.

Alexi Casilla: 25 years old, .249 career batting average, eight home runs, one every 119.8 at bats. Salary in 2010—$437,500.

We’ve seen what Casilla can do, and what this clubs needs is an upgrade. Hudson is the best fielder of the bunch, and at this point I do not see Casilla improving to match Hudson’s abilities.

Like Punto, Casilla’s best role may be as the utility back up for the team. With batting averages in the mid 200’s, and with little to no home run power, neither Punto nor Casilla are good options as everyday players. The only edge Casilla has over Punto is his price tag. 

Perhaps the Twins are making the move to Casilla to save some payroll so Smith can make a run at signing free agent Cliff Lee.

I know, it was a struggle for me to complete that last sentence without laughing, but a person can always hope.

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New York Mets’ Offseason Moves: 5 Ways Sandy Alderson Can Improve Team

The Mets are closer to being a contending team than you may think.  The incoming GM could make these simple and, perhaps more importantly, cheap changes to have them competing next year and for years to come.

Jettison Bad Karma: On paper, the Mets have been a competitive team for the past three years.  In reality, however, their high paid stars have underachieved, they have suffered an unlucky proportion of injuries and their fan base has grown impatient and cynical (I left out angry and borderline hostile). 

Now, the booing and empty seats at the otherwise charming Citi Field have become both a symptom and a cause of the general malaise of the team.  Not to go too new age on you, but the energy surrounding the team is negative, they have developed a culture of losing, perhaps traceable to their epic late season collapses in ‘07 and ‘08. 

Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and John Maine are the three major players that have come to symbolize this.  Castillo can be unloaded, the Mets could pay for half his six million dollar price-tag and sell him off as an ideal veteran bench piece, a one day per week starter, pinch runner, and situational pinch hitter. 

Perez’s value is minimal at best, but the Mets could sell him as a situational lefty vs. lefty match-up guy.  In fact, lefties have hit 50 points lower vs. him over the course of his career. They should even go so far as to pay 20 of his remaining 25 million if necessary, in a clear case of addition by subtraction.  John Maine is an easy fix, they should not tender his option and part ways cleanly. 

Get Stronger up the Middle: With Reyes at SS and either Beltran or Pagan in CF, to get stronger they must shore up 2B and C.  With strong catching options sparse in the bigs, the Mets should groom Josh Thole to fulfill his potential as an above average major league catcher. 

Then they need to sign a veteran caddie such as John Buck from Toronto and they will be covered at the catcher position.  At second base it is finally time to sign Orlando Hudson, the grizzled, slick fielding, switch hitting veteran who has long wanted to play for the Mets. 

The Mets should pay him nine million for three years.  He can play some still, and can teach Tejada about being a major leaguer, all while giving Tejada time to develop until it is the youngster’s time to shine. 

Another option here is Ricky Weeks of the Brewers who is set to be a FA after the 2011 season.  The Brewers are worried about signing Prince Fielder and would likely make Weeks available for a reasonable price.

Get rid of Jason Bay/Get Faster in the Outfield: Jason Bay is a bad fit for this team.  Although very talented, he is also a slow prodding runner/fielder whose right-handed power stroke is not complemented by the dimensions of Citi Field.  

The Mets would have been epically better off waiting for Carl Crawford this year but since they don’t have a time machine, they should wait till midseason when Bay’s value is back up and deal him and his contract away.  His replacement should be a centerfielder type player with good tools, decent pop and the speed to make the Mets outfield defense a team strength.

Sign their arms: Because of Johan’s uncertain injury status, there is an added urgency for the Mets to retain Pelfrey and Dickey.  Both are arbitration eligible, both should be signed to long term deals and both could be had at a reasonable price.

The Mets need to do this.  Jonathan Niece is their fourth starter, but could easily wind up being their second best per inning starter behind only a healthy Johan.  The last spots in the rotation would be up for competition, with guys like Dillon Gee (bad stuff, good command) and Henry Mejia (good stuff, bad command) competing for innings. 

Signing additional arms should be a priority as well, with a preference toward unheralded fly-ball pitchers to take advantage of the cavernous Citi Field dimensions at a relatively low price.

Hire Bobby Valentine: He is a polarizing figure, a baseball genius, has had success managing the Mets, brings competitive energy and an alpha dog to boot.  The Mets need an infusion of life and a spark to get the attention of the fans and the respect of the league. 

Bobby Valentine, for better or worse, elicits such an emotional response. After the hyper mellow (almost comatose really) managing style of Jerry Manuel, the young core of the Mets needs to be awoken from their slumber of mediocrity.  Bobby Valentine is credible and authoritative enough to get them to change their bad habits and is the manager the Mets Alderson should sign.

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