Could Orlando Hudson Be the Second Base Solution?

Earlier today, the San Diego Padres finally began the process of unconditionally releasing second baseman Orlando Hudson. He’d hit .211/.260/.317 across 131 plate appearances, which is lousy production even after adjusting for the PETCO Park effects. But for the previous nine seasons, he’d been as steady a second baseman as there is. Nine consecutive seasons of average production — or thereabouts — and often a hair above that. If my memory serves me right, second basemen generally hit their decline phase early — relative to other positions — so these 35 games of hitting woes are likely more than just a month-long slump.

But then you look at what the Giants have gotten from their second basemen this season: .197/.245/.204 in 150 plate appearances entering today. With that in mind, Hudson is an obvious target. At worst, he continues to hit as poorly as he has been hitting — which, overall, isn’t as terrible as it might seem. Considering he’s a middle infielder in the least hitter-friendly park in baseball, playing in a year when run-scoring has been very low, he hasn’t been that bad. In fact, Fangraphs has him at exactly replacement level. Best case scenario: he does what he’d done the previous nine years. Nothing fancy; just good old average production. Of course, the probable scenario is something in between that; maybe a 1 WAR/600 PA pace. He’s lost a step or two on defense, and his bat isn’t what it used to be, but that’s within reasonable reach for him. The Giants wouldn’t be on the hook for any of his contract, either; at league-minimum, there’s really no reason for the Giants not to pursue Hudson and sub him into the roster spot that Charlie Culberson is currently occupying.

Culberson, in fact, was the only position player in today’s starting lineup that didn’t have a hit or a walk; put Hudson in there instead, and things don’t look all that bad:

Blanco RF, Crawford SS, Cabrera LF, Posey C, Pagan CF, Belt 1B, Burriss 3B, Hudson 2B, Pitcher.

Especially a month from now when Pablo Sandoval returns at third base.

Speaking of which, what a much needed shot in the arm today’s game turned out to be. Is Gregor Blanco not the ideal leadoff hitter? That combination of on-base skills and speed is simply perfect. Meanwhile, Brandon Crawford actually came through at the plate today; Buster Posey and Brandon Belt combined to reach base six times in this game; and Angel Pagan more than doubled his walk total for the month of May with today’s performance.

I mean, it’s been five years since Adam Wainwright struck out this few hitters in an outing, so this was a surprisingly strong showing from the Giants’ offense.

Not the best outing from Matt Cain either, but he’s now got a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 54/10 on the season.

Anyway, an excellent victory today for the Giants. They’re still .500; if they were in the NL East, they’d be tied for last place. At this point, expectations should be tempered. But they probably have enough to hang in there — and with the proper adjustments and tinkering, perhaps make a legitimate run at the playoffs.

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7 thoughts on “Could Orlando Hudson Be the Second Base Solution?

  1. I’m all for it, to the point I would offer a PTBNL & take over the rest of the contract. That esures that Hudson would be a Giant.
    With the rest of the middle infield so very, very thin (even with the return of Theriot and Arias) it allows some mix and match later

  2. I agree about Hudson, and I like the lineup you propose, with, of course, the substitution tomorrow and till Sandoval returns, of Arias for Burris.

    As to Crawford’s “actually [coming] through at the plate,” I’d note that so far in May he has an OBP of .340. In so few PAs this means nothing in and of itself, but one can hope that it betokens his catching up with major league pitching; and on the basis of past performance in the field, one can have faith that his problems with the bat will stop plaguing his defense. (I know that the third in the hope/faith sequence is “charity,” but I have neither faith nor hope that *that* will show up much on a baseball blog.)

    • Good points. Not counting today, Crawford had a .243/.333/.297 line in May. Not pretty, but I’d take it if it’s with consistently great defense. (Though it’s worth noting that his OBP was boosted about 50 points by an intentional walk and a hit-by-pitch). I’m still holding out hope that he’ll come around and be a productive if underwhelming shortstop. This Fangraphs article is a good sign.

  3. Another huge positive is Hudson would be a great clubhouse addition. Probably one of the great and likeable personalities in the game and maybe he would similar to one of the 2010 castoffs.

  4. Hm. I lived in Minneapolis in 2010 when Hudson was with the Twins. Guy’s got a big mouth, is over the hill, and apparently is very unpopular in the clubhouse. Too bad, cause the guy has some gold gloves and a couple all-star appearances. For some reason O-Dog never seems to stick around very long, and his production as mentioned above, has been pretty lousy.

  5. I just want to remind everyone of what a great GM we have. He didn’t bring back keppinger signed than released fontenot and now were stuck with an AAA infield. Boy oh boy does tejeda sound good right now. Jk about tejeda by the way

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