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Orlando Hudson to White Sox: Should Gordon Beckham Be Worried?

SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 8:  Orlando Hudson #1 of the San Diego Padres hits an RBI triple during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park on May 8, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Tom FirmeAnalyst IIMay 20, 2012

Orlando Hudson signed with the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, according to ESPNChicago. The signing of Hudson adds a dimension to a White Sox infield that had been short on depth. Also, it may challenge White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham, who has been struggling at the plate since his hot rookie year.

Hudson was released by the San Diego Padres on Thursday after an unimpressive 35-game stint. Hudson was a consistent presence on the basepaths, reaching base in 31 of his 35 games with the Padres, but he still ended up with a .211 batting average and a .260 on-base percentage since he rarely reached base twice in a game.

He had an NL-leading five triples in his time in San Diego. Also, he had a 10-game hitting streak, running from April 15 to 27.

For his career, Hudson has been a decent hitter. He's a career .276 hitter. The 34-year-old second baseman has hit .280 four times in his career and has hit .300 once. The last two seasons have been the only ones in which he's hit worse than .250.

Also, this season is the first time he's had an on-base percentage worse than .310.

Still, he could serve as competition for Beckham. Beckham hasn't hit well since his rookie year in 2009. Beckham had a .317 on-base percentage with nine home runs in 2010.

In 2011, he had a .296 on-base percentage with 10 home runs. This season, he holds a meager .276 on-base percentage with three home runs.

Indeed, Beckham is one of the premier fielding second basemen. He was third in the AL in range factor per game as a second baseman (4.92) in 2010. In 2011, he was second (4.80).

Hudson is just as good as Beckham as a fielder. He led the AL in range factor per game as a second baseman (5.11) for the fourth time in 2010.

Beckham may be a great fielder, but he's coming to the point that former White Sox center fielder Brian Anderson was at in 2008. Like Beckham, Anderson was a great fielder who didn't hit well. Such players don't last very long these days.

Beckham will have respond to the challenge in order to keep his place in the middle of the White Sox infield. Hudson won't be a long-term replacement for Beckham, but the White Sox might have to find a new second baseman if Beckham doesn't step up at the plate as the season wears on.

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