Orlando Hudson is Making Ned Colletti Look Smart

When the Dodgers signed Orlando Hudson in late February for 3.38 million the only risks involved were Hudson’s ability to pass a physical and whether they could still find playing time for Blake Dewitt. Barring injury, Hudson’s skills were unlikely to erode over one off-season to the point where he would become a poor one-year signing. Add in a price tag that left the Dodgers paying for fewer than one win above replacement level, and Ned Colletti used his budget to upgrade his lineup once more.

Hudson has been fantastic. Uncharacteristically, Hudson’s slash line is .315/.396/.444. This is a player who recorded an average line of .294/.365/.448 over the past three seasons. A .368 BABIP has lead to the batting average inflation with an influx of added singles. Those extra hits have done little to help his power production, but along with a career high walk rate have improved his on-base percentage by more than enough to make up the deficit. Plus, it’s probable that Hudson will showcase some more power heading forward given recent ISO:

2006: .168
2007: .147
2008: .145
2009: .129

ZiPS has Hudson batting .297/.372/.437 for the rest of the season, or about eight runs. Combined with his offensive accomplishments to date and Hudson is looking at nearly 20 runs over the span of a single season; easily a career best.

Hudson isn’t the glove demon he once was with the Jays, but his -7.5 UZR/150 is essentially the same as last year despite some differences in the component factors. For one, his double play prowess has returned to above average levels. Hudson’s range has went south, but his sure handiness when he does get to balls is about as well as you would expect.

Add in the playing time and positional adjustments and Hudson is looking at his best season in half a decade. If that’s the case, he will have earned nearly five times what the Dodgers paid him in base salary. That’s a fantastic return on a relatively low risk signing. I don’t think the team that signs the (then) 32-year-old Hudson to a longer contract this off-season will have the same luck.

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18 Responses to “Orlando Hudson is Making Ned Colletti Look Smart”

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  1. vivaelpujols says:

    “Orlando Hudson is Making Ned Colletti Look Smart”

    I would argue that this one is all on Ned, for once.

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  2. cpebbles says:

    The Dodgers got him for the low guarantee, but unless he goes down with injury, he’s going to make $8 million with his playing-time incentives.

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  3. Tyler says:

    R.J., good post. While watching the draft yesterday, I kept thinking about the pick the Dodgers lost in order to sign Hudson, which many people thought presented the greatest opportunity cost for the club. Was thinking about doing a post on it. The way that he is producing for a playoff-caliber club, he was clearly worth the pick–A.J. Pollock, the center fielder from Notre Dame who could move to the infield.

    I like that the D’Backs had so many picks, and think that they had quite a great day. But right now the Dodgers clealry have to like where they are at.

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    • Brendan Scolari says:

      Another thing to consider is that Hudson is likely to be a Type A or B free agent this offseason, so it’s somewhat likely that the Dodgers will end up getting a pick or two back from him anyways. All in all, I think this looks like a great signing.

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  4. Mark R says:

    You must have been tired when you wrote this, R.J. She is a-thick with the typo. ;)

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  5. David Foy says:

    The title of this article should have been:

    “Orlando Hudson is Making Omar Minaya Look Brain Dead”

    Orlando came out and told everyone that his prefrence was to sign for the Mets. He wait all free agency for the Mets to make him a deal and they never did. With all the injurys that they’ve suffered and considering who they have at 2B (though he’s also having a much better season than expected), the Mets could have used Orlando this season.

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  6. Joe R says:

    Orlando Hudson
    Manny Ramirez


    Nomar Garciaparra
    Casey Blake (who’s good, but over a decade older than the cost-controlled, equally good player they sent packing for Blake)
    Juan Pierre (Small sample size be damned)
    Andruw Jones
    Jason Schmidt
    Rafael Furcal

    My opinion of Ned Colletti stands.

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    • Brent says:

      Hah! Touche.

      You forgot to add Joe Torre to that list though.

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    • Brendan Scolari says:

      I don’t think Furcal was such a bad signing. He’s been good when healthy (except for so far this year). Andruw Jones looks awful in hindsight but was it considered such a bad risk at the time? Of course, you left off quite a few other good (and bad) moves as well. The Andre Ethier trade has worked out well, as have the Saito and Kuroda signings. Finding guys like Joe Beimel and Ronald Belisario off the scrap heap have helped the Dodgers create a cheap yet very effective bullpen over the last few years. He also didn’t trade away most of the yong prospects that didn’t pan out, although I still don’t approve of much of what he did do.

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    • Garrett says:

      I think Carlos Santana for Blake will go down as the defining move of the Colletti era. .957 OPS in Double-A as a 23 year old catcher now and with Martin’s power fading they might need some help at catcher soon if they feel he can’t withstand the beatings at catcher everyday. At least they have a replacement level 3B who is overpaid though!

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  7. SMB says:

    “I don’t think the team that signs the (then) 32-year-old Hudson to a longer contract this off-season will have the same luck.”

    With the numbers he’s putting up for us sadly that team is guaranteed to be the Dodgers with Colletti at the helm. He did it with Jeff Kent, Nomar and Blake (and to a lesser extent Furcal, and even lesser Manny). He just really can care less about age.

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  8. I think that Orlando Hudson is just having a good season that make Ned Colletti lucky, not smart.

    I was happy about the signing. Hudson, when you dig into his career stats, was never that good a hitter, it was propped up in particular by his playing in Chase Field, a big hitter’s park. His batting line on the road has always been much lower, and consistently lower, both at Toronto and Arizona, and he never hit that well in Dodger Stadium either, prior to this season.

    Even this year his road numbers are nothing to cheer about, but suddenly he’s a big hitter in Dodger Stadium, which contributed greatly to their great home record.

    The good news for Giants fans is that after his hot start in April, he cooled off greatly in May, and has been frigid the past month. Unfortunately, that’s when Pierre inexplicably took the hand-off from Hudson and was hitting very well – very Manny-like in OPS – in replacement of Manny.

    Luckily, he is returning to normal the past two weeks, and cooling off, but with his numbers still looking good, I’m hoping the Dodgers will start keeping him in the mix instead of playing Kemp and Ethier, both of whom are clearly better hitters. Before they realize that Pierre is the Pierre we all know, he should have taken a lot of ABs away from the better hitters in the rest of this season.

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    • Galabaster says:

      “I think that Orlando Hudson is just having a good season that make Ned Colletti lucky, not smart.”

      Take it easy, big guy. Not every GM can be as great a Brian Sabean.

      “I’m hoping the Dodgers will start keeping him in the mix instead of playing Kemp and Ethier, both of whom are clearly better hitters. Before they realize that Pierre is the Pierre we all know, he should have taken a lot of ABs away from the better hitters in the rest of this season.”



      Hudson has played above his head, but when the season ends he will be a Type A and the Dodgers will be in first place and that’s all anyone will really care about.

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      • David Foy says:

        “…when the season ends he will be a Type A…”

        If the Dodgers are smart and let him get overpaid by another team then this will be a very nice return (one season of solid defense and positive offensive production + compensation draft pick) on such a slim amount of investment.

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  9. Rafa says:

    Even at $8 million, Hudson will still be a bargain for the season given his current and projected production. Great signing. That is a very rare statement in the Ned Coletti era that had favored signing has beens and injured players.

    That said, I hope the Dodgers let Hudson go, collect the draft picks they will get since he is likely going to be a Type A free agent, let Blake Dewitt play 2B next season and start to sign Ethier, Kemp, Billingsley, and Broxton to long term deals. The jury is surprisingly out on Martin now and Loney needs to show power before the Dodgers commit to him long-term.

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  10. Rdizz says:

    Should have read “Orlando Hudson Signing Making Brian Sabean Look Mentally Retarded” .

    Consider this: As of two days ago, these are Hudson’s ranks compared to the combined efforts of Edgar Renteria (whom the Giants signed instead of Hudson) and Manny Burriss who has played the majority of games at second base this year:

    +1 run scored
    +3 doubles
    +2 triples
    -2 RBI
    -1 walk

    Is hitting nearly .70 points higher than the combined average of R+B
    .80 points higher in OBP than R+B
    .200+ points higher in OPS than R+B

    I want to kill myself….

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  11. paul says:

    i cant stand ned colletti.

    despite the great signings of manny and hudson, the egregious errors made by the aforementioned ned colletti should not be overlooked. i agree with joe r.

    on a related note, it seems that most of the great players (and deals) in baseball have been signed to long term contracts before they became “superstars”. ryan braun and evan longoria are the 2 that immediately come to mind. these 2 players make good (not obscene) amounts of money and have exceeded that value on the field.

    matt kemp and chad billingsley should be given extensions immediately. im not too sure what else they have to do to prove they deserve at least 4-5 year deal.

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  12. Slam says:

    did someone just compare Andy LaRoche to Casey Blake?


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