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Monday Rockpile: Orlando Hudson - still worth pursuing?

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Off-topic here.

For the past few seasons, 2B has been a major question for Colorado. In fact, it's been a question for the entire history of the franchise, as we've discussed ad nauseum in the article comments.

Right now, it appears the organization is interested in sticking with an internal candidate, probably some combination of Eric Young Jr, Chris Nelson, or Jonathan Herrera to man the second half of Tulowitkzi's double play madness.

While there are a handful of utility guys poking around free agency, such as Anderson Hernandez, Willie Bloomquist, or Craig Counsell, the Rockies might consider someone who could potentially play the position full-time, and then let the other three battle out the backup-infielder role(s).

Just for the hell of it, I'm going to suggest Orlando Hudson. Colorado has been somewhat targeting him for the past few seasons, or at least toying around with the idea of him, but internal candidates have more or less won themselves the job from 2008-on.

Hudson batted to the tune of .268/.338/.372 over 126 games in Minnesota. While those numbers don't entirely leap, he still seems to have a bit of those ISO peripherals left in the tank.

Click past the jump for a bit of a breakdown on Hudson, some pros and cons and the like.

Pros:

Switch hitter. He looks to be a better lefty versus righties, but he can hold his own as a righty versus lefty. He graded out as just a shade above average v RHP, and slightly below average v LHP (101 wRC+ v 96). It should be noted that last season he hit lefties far more proficiently than righties, (104 wRC+ v RHP, 127 v LHP), so 2010 may have been a BABIP issue, but he did have trouble hitting line drives off of LHP (22.7% LD vs RHP, 17.4%) v LHP

Fielding: Despite his UZR decline over the past few seasons, Hudson displayed excellent range, sound hands, and was nearly worth a win from field alone at 2B.

Contact: Hudson is a career 84.3% contact hitter, and that didn't change in 2010. Hudson's contact rate was a career high 86.5% this season, and while contact for the sake of contact is missing the point, it would be a pleasant change from what we've grown accustomed to at 2B.

Cons:

Strikeouts: While a career 16.6% K-rate wouldn't be the worst on the Rockies, Hudson has posted strikeout numbers we haven't seen since his days in Toronto over the past 2 seasons (18.0%, 17.5%). Something to keep in mind, but we should also keep in mind that Hudson wouldn't really be a top of the lineup hitter.

Lack of Versatility: Hudson has never played anywhere but 2B in his major league career. If he is slated as the starter, this shouldn't be a problem. Otherwise, I'd be concerned about his adaptability to 3B.

Contract: Hudson had to settle for a sub-$4M incentive-laden contract from the Dodgers in 2009, but made a cool $5M in 2010 with the Twins. He might settle for another incentivized contract, but there might be a team out there desperate enough at 2B to just hand him a guaranteed contract.

Blatant decline: As we know, players who are getting older tend to not improve their game, but rather get worse at it. Since his time with Arizona, Hudson has posted the following wRC+: 105, 114, 115, 111, 100. Hudson will be 34 in 2010, and while he could be due for a BABIP (or something) related bounceback or something of that nature, it's not the sort of thing I would count on.

Blocks Chris Nelson: Pretty self explanatory. You can substitute your preferred farmhand 2B candidate in there, but the point somewhat stands.

After all is said and done, we are looking at a guy who can sort of hit lefties, hit righties alright, play a professional 2B, but is on the decline and could cost the team $4-$6M in FA. While the organization does need to spend some money at some point here, I'm not entirely sure that Chris Nelson (et al) wouldn't be able to match or surpass Hudson's production at a fraction of the cost. Probably not a fantastic move, but there are far worse that Colorado could make regarding its middle infield.

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Here's a relevant link:

Pacheco heats up in second week of AFL || Steve Foster, Inside the Rockies

Here's an update on Rockies Purps such as Jordan Pacheco, Bruce Billings, and Charlie Blackmon. And more.