The Minnesota Twins have had some recent success with Orlando. Last season, in a mid-season trade, Orlando Cabrera arrived and helped lift the Twins to a division title. Less than three weeks from spring training, Orlando Hudson has now arrived, and his arrival brings excitement.
The entire infield for Minnesota, outside of mainstay Justin Morneau of course, has been changing year after year. By signing shortstop J.J. Hardy two days into the off-season, the Twins shored up one slot and left two more for work.
Third base will be taken over by Brendan Harris and Nick Punto, and second base will now be occupied by an All-Star caliber player. Hudson last season hit .283 with 9 homeruns and 62 runs batted in. His numbers are much more than a slight improvement to both the second slot in the lineup and the second base position.
Last season in the second spot in the order, the Twins hit a combined .232 with 7 homeruns and 66 RBI when Joe Mauer wasn’t there. The second basemen combined to hit .209 with 2 homeruns, 43 RBI and an on-base percentage of just .302 (compared to Hudson’s .357 mark).
Hudson will earn $5 million on a one-year deal that includes no incentives. There are award bonuses included, and the Twins can’t offer arbitration if Hudson qualifies as a Type-A free agent, but the moves was a no brainer.
After reportedly being rejected by left-handed starter Jarrod Washburn earlier this off-season after the team offered the same one-year, $5 million deal, and after Francisco Liriano stunned the Twin Cities with his winter ball performance, it only made sense for the organization to focus it’s attention and money toward the second base options.
The off-season began with question marks in the rotation, on the bench, and in three of four infield positions. As spring training draws near, the Twins have now addressed each of those questions, and their off-season might just be considered one of the best in baseball (Hardy, Hudson, Pavano, Thome, Condry).