Author's Note: This is part of a five-part series examining players on the San Diego Padres roster who need to improve during this offseason if the Padres are to be successful, and if the paychecks given these players are to be legitimately earned. The other players examined are Chris Denorfia, Will Venable, Edinson Volquez and Jason Bartlett.
After a surprising 2010 season in which they narrowly missed a postseason berth, the San Diego Padres and their fans entered the 2011 cautiously optimistic, despite the loss of Adrian Gonzalez. That optimism was misplaced, however, as the Padres finished the season with a 71-91 record, good enough for dead last in the NL West.
The offseason so far has also been rocky, as the Pads have lost their top two starting pitchers from last season, Aaron Harang and Mat Latos. The transactions the club has made so far this offseason bode well for the future, but make the forecast for the upcoming season quite bleak.
If the Padres are to have any hope of once again pulling off a surprising season and overachieving, they are going to need several of the players currently on their roster to step it up big time and improve dramatically during this offseason.
One of those players is second baseman Orlando Hudson. In fact, Hudson is the single most underachieving Padre right now.
The Padres payroll is 29th in the league. The entire payroll for the 2011 season was approximately $45.9 million, less than one-fourth of the the New York Yankees payroll. Orlando Hudson alone received $4 million of that limited amount of money.
When almost one-tenth of an already small payroll is going to just one player, that player better be producing. Hudson failed miserably in that responsibility last season.
Orlando Hudson certainly has plenty of talent. He made the All-Star game twice and won a Gold Glove four times. One of those All-Star selections came in 2009, only two seasons before he came to San Diego.
Last season, Hudson certainly hid that talent under a bushel. His batting average was a paltry .246. He managed only 49 RBIs, with a pathetic seven homers. His on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS were also all well below his career average.
Hudson is certainly not winning himself any fans in San Diego. If he wants to continue being paid like the top everyday-player on the roster, he needs to start producing like it. If Orlando Hudson isn't working his butt off during this offseason in order to improve, he is practically stealing from the club.