Orlando Hudson Takes His Talents to San Diego

With today’s signing of Orlando Hudson by the Padres, we can say that the Adrian Gonzalez trade is finally complete. While Boston didn’t ship Hudson to San Diego directly, it is hard to miss the symmetry between the salary that the Padres shed when Gonzalez was traded and the amount of money that they gave Hudson to take over at second base. For all intents and purposes, Hudson is what the Padres were able to buy with the money they saved by moving their star first baseman.

While that swap doesn’t make the Padres a better team overall, adding Hudson does offset the loss of Gonzalez to a degree. A chronically underrated player, Hudson has been worth an average of +2.5 WAR per 600 PA over his career, and has rarely strayed far from that number, never going lower than +1.2 or higher than +3.7. While he’s showing signs of aging as a hitter, Hudson is still a quality starting second baseman, and at $11 million over two years, he’s a rare bargain in this inflationary market.

With a going rate of something in the neighborhood of $5 million per win this winter, Hudson would only have to generate +1.1 WAR in 2011 to justify his salary from a market-rate perspective. For comparison, Aaron Hill‘s .291 wOBA and slightly above-average defense last year was worth +1.1 WAR as a full time second baseman. There is a lot of room for Hudson to regress from his 2010 performance and still be a relative bargain, given the prices free agents have been signing for to date.

Headed into his age-33 season, with most of his offensive numbers headed the wrong way over the last four years, we should expect a good amount of regression from Hudson. It’s pretty unlikely that he’ll be a +3 win player again next year. However, this contract builds that expectation right into his salary, and unless he gets hurt, there’s very little downside to this deal. In a market where middle relievers cost more than what Hudson just got, adding a full-time second baseman with across-the-board skills for this price is a good use of resources by the Padres.

The package that the Padres got for Gonzalez was generally considered to be a bit on the lighter side of what was expected. Adding Hudson to the mix makes that deal look a bit better from San Diego’s perspective.

To project how Orlando Hudson will do in 2011, click here.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Carson Cistulli
Editor
Member
5 years 7 months ago

Dave Cameron makes a pop culture reference! Boom!

mbrady16
Member
mbrady16
5 years 7 months ago

I don’t think it’ll ever get old.

MonotonousRedundance
Guest
MonotonousRedundance
5 years 7 months ago

“Unless he gets hurt” is a more than an offhanded remark. Out of all of Hudson’s years in the Show, how many seasons did he complete without a single DL stint?

James
Guest
James
5 years 7 months ago

From my brief internet sleuthing, his most significant recent injuries (wrist in 2008 and 2010) are attributable to collisions. I don’t think that makes him injury prone. Otherwise he’s averaged 148 games in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

In any event, I don’t think injuries will be a big deal. I’m expecting the acquisition of Bartlett to eventually happen, and Eckstein to be retained as the backup SS/2B, so even if Hudson only plays 130-140 games, it should still be an upgrade (look at his offensive track record when playing in the NL vs. AL).

Cavalier
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Cavalier
5 years 7 months ago

Eckstein won’t be retained. They haven’t even contacted his representatives. Judging by the last few days’ transactions, I doubt Jerry Hairston will be back either.

Pads looking toward Eric Patterson and Everth Cabrera to back up the middle infield.

GoDbacks
Guest
GoDbacks
5 years 7 months ago

Don’t forget 2007 Hudson missed all of September and the playoffs with a torn thumb ligament!

While isolated incident injuries, all pretty much caused by collisions, I’d have to imagine the lingering side effects of the symptoms still remain. Collectively, all that stiffness and soreness must really inhibit Hudson’s hitting ability, being all hand/wrist-related maladies.

James
Guest
James
5 years 7 months ago

Cabrera is likely going to AAA based on what Hoyer says…

As to Eckstein, I should’ve reworded that – not that I’m expecting him to be retained, rather I think it would be a good idea from the Padres perspective to retain him and I think he’d prefer to stay in San Diego over most other destinations.

Hudson did pretty well offensively in 2009, so there’s nothing to indicate lingering problems from the 07/08 injuries (2009 dropoff in power likely attributable to stadium change).

Bill
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Bill
5 years 7 months ago

A player who is prone to injuries caused by collisions is still injury prone. It may mean that he plays in such a way as to make himself more prone to collisions. Aaron Rowand comes to mind.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

I recall this point being a point of emphasis some years back when Garrett Anderson and Jim Edmonds were in the same outfield.

Anderson, rarely if ever, dove … partially to minimize the risk of injury. Edmonds dove at everything, and crashed into any wall he could find.

There’s some validity to both guys’ approaches.

James
Guest
James
5 years 7 months ago

Re:”A player who is prone to injuries caused by collisions is still injury prone.”

From what I researched his collisions were with other players, which to me is different from Aaron Rowand who runs full speed into walls, fences, other inanimate objects (part of why he’s one of my favorite players ever).

I would agree with the premise that Hudson is injury prone were this football where collisions occur between players on almost every play. Collisions with other players in baseball is a rather anomalous event (for non-catchers, other than the occassional takeout slide), and being able to withstand collisions with other players is not a prerequisite for playing 150+ games.

To me, injury prone is a guy who suffers constantly from nagging injuries or gets hurt out of nowhere (Carlos Quentin immediately comes to mind).

AA
Guest
AA
5 years 7 months ago

Hudson’s injuries have largely been freak accidents, and the worst concerns over his major wrist injury were set aside during his smoking hot start with the Dodgers in 2009, when he showed the could clearly still hit left handed. He did change the way he fields grounders, but not in a detrimental way.

DonCoburleone
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DonCoburleone
5 years 7 months ago

And Dave Cameron’s love affair with Orlando Hudson continues…

phoenix2042
Member
Member
phoenix2042
5 years 7 months ago

hey Carson has Colby Lewis, so Dave deserves his favorites. and hudson is actually pretty good. he is no utley or cano, but he is a real bargain at that price. he’s the kind of player that every team needs, really solid all around.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

That’s why he’s a favorite of Dave’s. He consistently provides decent production, and almost always at a cost that makes his production a surplus.

Seems like a pretty good type of player to support.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
5 years 7 months ago

I’m really disappointed the Cards didn’t sign Hudson to upgrade at the keystone, instead deciding to stick w/ Skip Schumaker. This is a very good deal for the Padres. Instead, the Cards are paying Schumaker and Theriot more than what Hudson will make this year and sent the better Brendan Ryan to Seattle for a class-A reliever.

In the offseason, most teams look for their biggest hole and attempt to fill it. Instead, the Cards are going to keep digging at 2nd while making both their infield and outfield defense worse.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

I’ve said the same thing the last 3 times Hudson was a free agent.

James
Guest
James
5 years 7 months ago

Ditto for me and the White Sox.

YankeesFan11
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YankeesFan11
5 years 7 months ago

I feel that unless the Padres increase their draft budget, they will fall into the same trap they have been in for years. They never fully commit to a rebuilding and sign players that make them marginally better but never to the extent required to be a serious playoff contender. Then, because of the money they spent on those players, they pass on superior talent in the draft because they “can’t afford it.” Imagine how much better their next draft would be if they had another $5.5 million to spend.

Zach
Guest
Zach
5 years 7 months ago

I don’t think Hoyer would spend this money if it was at the expense of the draft. He clearly understands the importance of the draft and I don’t think he’ll skimp on the future just to put a couple band-aids on now.

Plus, when you think about the money itself, they underspent last year (they budgeted for at least $40m and spent less than that). There was an increase in attendance, and they’ve sold more season tickets for 2011 than they did in 2010. They’re at about $42m now. It seems like they have the money without hurting their draft.

James
Guest
James
5 years 7 months ago

I’m still anticipating Ludwick being moved at some point… if they are going to have a future, Blanks, Venable and Maybin need to play every day, and with Rizzo in the future 1B plans, that puts Blanks’s future in LF or on another team. Forced to choose between Ludwick’s salary and performance in the second half of 2010 and Blanks’s salary and his potential (e.g., his performance in the second half of 2009), Ludwick would seem to be on the move…

maestro876
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maestro876
5 years 7 months ago

Ludwick and Blanks’s futures with the Padres are up in the air. For the first half of 2011, at least, there’ll be no conflict. Blanks is still getting over his injury, and showed last year that he really needs more time in the minor leagues. I think there’ll be plenty of competition between him and Rizzo. I know that I’d much rather see one traded than stick Blanks in left field again.

James
Guest
James
5 years 7 months ago

Blanks has been the only guy who seems to maintain his power in PETCO. They are going to have a hard time finding guys with his power (no FAs in their prime will come for what they’ll pay), and I would keep him around for that reason. I would rather see him at 1B than LF, and I would agree he needed more time in the minors, except that he performed pretty well in 2009 (on par with Mike Stanton 2010 in terms of BB%/K% and HR/FB%) once he settled in before getting hurt.

Barkey Walker
Guest
Barkey Walker
5 years 7 months ago

How about an article on Nishioka vs Hudson for the Twins.

DownwiththeDH
Member
DownwiththeDH
5 years 7 months ago

Injuries resulting from collisions for a 2b should be considered part of the skill set.

Grant
Guest
Grant
5 years 7 months ago

Calling Aaron Hill’s defense slightly above average when most talent evaluators have him as the best in the game is a perfect example of how unreliable UZR can really be in some cases.

exxrox
Member
exxrox
5 years 7 months ago

a couple of years ago I would have agreed with this, but I think Hill’s defense has really slipped, especially this year…he really seemed to make some costly, ill-time errors all year, he wasn’t near as much of a sure thing as I had come to expect

Sensual Sharting
Guest
Sensual Sharting
5 years 7 months ago

3/5ths of the teams in the AL East have the “best defensive 2nd baseman” in MLB.

AA
Guest
AA
5 years 7 months ago

Its pretty clear that Chase Utley is the best defensive 2B in the game.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

Not being able to get out of the way is a problem fir a 2B.

That might be why they practice it so much, both at the base and in the path.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
5 years 7 months ago

So now this line is used on all of the four major sports and with cities that are on the other side of the country from where it originated? What creativity! This should be nominated for a Pulitzer.

J.M.
Guest
J.M.
5 years 7 months ago

What the hell are the Padres doing?! I’m a Giants fan, and I was excited when I thought the Padres were trending towards giving up on 2011 and 2012 by letting go of Garland and Correia, and dealing AGon. Now with Bartlett, Hudson and Harang, it looks like they intend on competing somewhat. I was really hoping they’d roll over for my guys next year. :/

Khosbayar
Guest
Khosbayar
5 years 7 months ago

Bill is 100% right. No matter how someone gets hurt, if a player gets hurt more often than the typical player than he is injury-prone – period. Look at Moises Alou, who got hurt by doing things like running to first base and by falling off a treadmill.

Whether the injuries occur because of circumstances outside your control, because you’re clumsy, or for whatever other reason, then you’re hurt – period, and if it happens frequently, then you’re prone to injury, or injury-prone.

Dynamite
Guest
Dynamite
5 years 7 months ago

The O-Dog is O-verrated.

He’s a big talker with a shitty game.

DIVISION
Guest
DIVISION
5 years 7 months ago

Having watched Orlando play in Phoenix for a season, it’s no surprise to me why he hasn’t been able to find a team willing to commit.

He’ll make a webgem-type play, but botch the routine one-hopper up the middle that should always be a sure out. He’s maddening like that. Despite what UZR rates him, he’s probably average to slightly plus defense at second.

Offensively, he’s a prime DP candidate and K’s a bit too much for my liking. He’ll provide decent power, but his game is more suited for the AL where he can be sandwiched between guys who hit for average (and power).

I can’t see him having great success on an offensively-challenged team like the Padres. He’ll jack some doubles, a few HR, end up hitting .270 with more K’s than you’d like……..and hopefully maintains his ability to play 2B.

I think with Orlando, it’s that he’s a jack of all trades, but master of none. He’d be signed long-term if he hit for a higher average and K’d less, or hit for much more power and was a factor on the basepaths. He’s the type of player that should be better given the physical tools he possesses, but simply isn’t…

AA
Guest
AA
5 years 7 months ago

Hudson is hard to rate because he is absolutely spectacular on flyballs and balls to his right, but is weak on balls to his left and average-ish on GDPs. The main issue seems to be Hudson’s arm strength. He is very sure-handed and has excellent range, however. The best thing for him was being paired with Rafael Furcal, and the numbers reflected it.

Lorenzo
Guest
Lorenzo
5 years 7 months ago

I’m amused at the talk of Hudson “jacking” some homers and doubles. Not.At.Petco. The park ranks 30th of all 30 parks for singles, and 30th for doubles. It’s only 23rd in Homers, only because Adrian hit 9 of his 11 Petco homers going to left, or it would have been 28th.

Hudson and Bartlett were picked up because they fit the Padres’ small ball philosophy: advance the runner, hit and run, steal bases, take the extra base, etc. AND good defense that helps the starters get a lead to the bullpen.

It’s classic team play and the reason the Padres won 90 games last year, the reason Adrian won’t be a big loss, and the reason the Padres will be contenders again in 2011.

AA
Guest
AA
5 years 7 months ago

1) The Padres did well last year because their pitchers all had basically peak years (except maybe Latos) at the same time.

2) That “small ball” philosophy still requires someone in the lineup to be able to club balls out of the park and the Padres really don’t have that.

3) Hudson will help with OBP, because he is better at getting on base at this point that Eckstein. Just don’t expect SB. Hudson is a good baserunner and has decent speed, but his nickname with the Dodgers was “Slow-Dog” because the dude just doesn’t steal

DIVISION
Guest
DIVISION
5 years 7 months ago

I concur with Double-A.

Hudson will club some HR/2B regardless of where he plays half his games, so that won’t change simply because he’s in San Diego. What also won’t change is the fact that Hudson doesn’t hit for average and K’s more than you want, which is why he was still available. His defense should remain viable, but he’s not as good as UZR would suggest and history shows he’s actually very average by that metric. Last year he had a good UZR rating, which is the outlier.

Hudson DOES have good speed, but simply doesn’t steal enough for that speed to be a real factor for a team.

He’s a nice player, sure, but isn’t as good as his peripherals would suggest.

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