Shocking as it may seem the Twins actually signed free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson.
The deal is for one-year and is worth $5 million. There are no additional performance incentives, but reportedly the contract does contain various awards bonuses.
The contract also states that should Hudson rank as a Type A free agent after the 2010 season, the Twins cannot offer him arbitration.
Anyone who frequents Cheap Seat Chronicles has read me rant about general manager Bill Smith’s all-too quiet offseason a time or two this winter.
After Thursday night’s big move and the speculation that he’s closing in on an extension with Joe Mauer, I think maybe I’ll finally cut the guy some slack.
Hudson, 32, will take over as the club’s primary second baseman with Nick Punto shifting over to third base.
Punto is the better defender at this stage of his career, but is better suited defensively at third and will give way to Hudson who has played his entire career at the keystone corner.
Hudson, a four-time Gold Glove winner, may not be the defensive wizard he was earlier in his career. In fact, despite winning a Gold Glove last season, he posted a negative UZR/150 rating for the second year in a row.
While he holds a career UZR/150 of 2.6, he posted a -7.6 in 2008 and -3.7 in 2009.
Hudson will receive much of the same reputation-based praise for his defense that Orlando Cabrera received last year when he was one of the worst defensive shortstops in all of baseball.
Reputation goes a long way in baseball and Hudson will be no exception to the rule.
Despite what any metrics or scouts will say about his defense, he figures to be an adequate defender at second and gives the Twins a boost if for no other reason than keeping Brendan Harris and his dreadful glove on the bench.
Additionally, Hudson immediately becomes the top candidate for the two-hole in the lineup between speedy leadoff hitter Denard Span and Mauer, the reigning American League Most Valuable Player.
Hudson will provide an immediate upgrade offensively both at second base and in the lineup’s second spot.
In 2009, Twins second basemen ranked dead last in all of baseball when they combined to “hit” a putrid .209/.302/.267 with two home runs and 43 RBI.
By that same token, every player not-named Mauer who hit in the two-hole last year combined for an equally-uninspiring—yet markedly better—batting line of .232/.272/.326 with seven home runs and 66 RBI.
For his part Hudson hit .283/.357/.417 with nine home runs and 62 RBI last year.
Where I come from that’s a pretty drastic improvement no matter how you look at it.
I’d like to think that Smith read my last piece and assumed that his life was in danger if he didn’t make a move to lock up Hudson.
Whether or not I had an impact on the situation is irrelevant, what does matter is that the Twins just bumped themselves into the rarified air of World Series hopefuls.
Get ready Twins fans, it's going to be a good year.