Could this offseason be deja vu for Orlando Hudson?
Last winter, the second baseman was coming off a stellar season offensively and defensively that was cut short by injuries. Nevertheless, Hudson was rated as a type A free agent was looking to cash in on his big year with a large multi-year contract that was in the $25-$35 million dollar range.
However, the Dodgers offered Hudson arbitration, which severely depressed the market for his services because teams were not willing to give up a high draft pick to sign him. And over the course of a few months, the baseball world watched as Orlando Hudson went from a multi-year deal hopeful, to a guy who was forced to take a one year deal with the Dodgers for less than $4 million dollars that included a boatload of incentives.
Once the 2009 season ended, the free agent process started all over again for Hudson, This time, however, things seemed to be looking up despite Hudson's rocky final six weeks with the Dodgers.
Thanks to the Dodgers financial issues, Hudson was not offered arbitration by the Dodgers and was now free to sign with any club without the possibility of draft pick compensation hanging over his head. By not offering Hudson arbitration, the Dodgers seemed to be opening up the market for Hudson and it seemed to be only a matter of time before a team stepped up and offered Hudson a multi-year contract.
But Hudson has yet to see any real action so far in free agency and there is reason to believe that the market for Hudson will not heat up. Take a look at the teams, who might be interested in signing Orlando Hudson:
- Mariners: Sure they have Jose Lopez at second, but if they move him to first or trade him, than Hudson might become an option here given his strong leadership ability and historically great defense.
- Twins: The Twins already have two potential second basemen for 2010 (Casilla and Punto), but if they have room in their budget, then adding Hudson would be a nice move for the Twins both offensively, defensively, and in the locker room.
- Giants: The Giants really should be going after power hitters, but if they opt to sign Hudson, then the Giants can shift Freddy Sanchez to third base.
- Mets: If the Mets can move Luis Castillo, then I'm sure they would sign Hudson in a heartbeat. However, moving Castillo seems to be nearly impossible at this point.
- The Rockies, Nationals, Phillies, and Red Sox were also linked to Hudson early in the offseason, but those clubs seem doubtful to make a strong run.
- The Dodgers are not likely to bring back Hudson at this point given their dire financial straits and because they signed Jamey Carroll to a two year deal.
If the financial terms are low enough, then maybe the Diamondbacks and Cubs get involved on the Hudson bidding, but right now, it does not look like either club will be involved.
Considering that Hudson was benched in favor of Ronnie Belliard down the stretch for the Dodgers last season and that his defensive ability seems to be on the decline , can anyone actually see a team giving Orlando Hudson anything more than a one year deal with a vesting option for 2011? Sure guys like Jamey Carroll and Ramon Santiago landed two year deals, but right now, there don't appear to be too many teams that are both actively looking for a starting second baseman and have loads of cash to spend.
In short, this could be another cold winter for Orlando Hudson.
Where do you think Orlando Hudson will land? What kind of contract will he get on the open market?