Holy crap, spending money on free agents who might actually improve the team? Are these really our Twins? After snagging Jim Thome from the bargain bin, they've now inked second baseman Orlando Hudson to a reasonable one year, $5 million deal. If he can get Joe Mauer locked up in a ridiculously team-friendly extension, I may be forced to take back every mean thing I've ever said about Bill Smith. My schedule is pretty brutal this semester so I haven't had much time to write (or read, for that matter, sorry fellow baseball bloggers), but lots of other smart people have already weighed in:
Some of Hudson's new teammates expressed their delight with the signing on Twitter:
Wake up this morning to see we signed the o dog! If ur a twins fan today u have to be juiced! I thought we already were lookin good beforePatNeshek:
Love the O-Hud signing, what a team!
Aaron Gleeman points out that, even though Hudson has slipped a bit defensively and hits into a ton of double plays, he provides a significant upgrade over the Twins' current second base options at a reasonable price. That's right, the middle infield will now be above replacement-level for the first time since Jason Bartlett was dealt to the Rays. I think I've forgotten what that looks like.
Dave Cameron also approves. Actually, he's approved of pretty much all the moves the Twins made this year. I'm not sure I'm ready for a world in which Dave Cameron thinks the Twins are a well-run organization.
Howard Sinker and Andrew at Off the Mark think this is the best offseason the Twins have had in years, and I agree. Of course, there is one more little issue that still needs to be resolved.
Over at Twinkie Town, Adam Peterson has done the math and figured out how much Thome and Hudson might improve the team (though it was written before the Hudson signing was official).
Who will be designated for assignment to make room for the O-Dog on the 40-man roster? It might be Alexi Casilla.
Of course, as Cameron notes, the tough free agent market is the only reason someone like Hudson was even in the Twins' price range in the first place. Teams don't want to overspend on free agents in this economy, preferring to give younger and cheaper players a starting job instead. Elite players like Mark Teixeira will always command top dollar, but lesser type-A free agents like Hudson (and Johnny Damon) will probably struggle to find work. It's a shame that such players will have to settle for far less money than they're really worth, but this new market inefficiency may work in the favor of smaller and mid-market teams like the Twins.