Youth movement? Why go with the local kids when there are bargain basement deals for veterans? Like the one the Dodgers just signed.
Orlando Hudson is coming to Los Angeles to play second base, with the team signing him to a one-year deal worth $3.4 million. The deal could be worth $8 million if Hudson can hit all his incentive clauses — particularly staying healthy and getting at bats, coming in off wrist surgery last season.
Hudson is a three-time gold glover at shortstop who is a career .282 hitter but was hitting .305 through nearly the first two thirds of last season until he went down injured.
Hudson went into the off-season looking for a long-term deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million a year. Which a couple years ago he might have gotten — he has a great glove as a shortstop and has good bat control. But the market has crashed everywhere outside the Bronx, and Hudson had to take a one-year deal in hopes that things will look different next winter.
The signing does cost the Dodgers a first-round pick next year, which will now go to the Diamondbacks. That part of the move follows the Ned Colletti/Joe Torre trend of preferring veterans over letting the young talent come in or develop.
But Hudson is an upgrade. Hudson is considered one of the premiere defensive second basemen in baseball, although last year he did not live up to that standard. If he bounces back it give the Dodgers two great defensive infielders up the middle behind a green pitching staff, with Furcal at short and Hudson at second. Plus, if Furcal is injured again the Dodgers don’t lose much by moving Hudson over. Furcal and Hudson likely will hit one-two in the Dodger batting order as well.
Exactly what all this will mean for the other Dodgers other position players is unclear, especially with the question about left field and Manny Ramirez still hanging like a bad curveball.
Blake DeWitt was considered the starter at second base until this signing, he could now go to third base and Casey Blake could go from third to left field. The other option is to just bench DeWitt, leave Blake at third and start Juan Pierre in left. If the collective wishes of Dodger fans everywhere matter, Pierre will not be the starter in left, but Joe Torre gets to make that decision.
Nobody is signing Kurt Helin for $3.4 million to do anything, so he'll just keep doing his basketball blog.