It's official! For $5 million, Orlando Hudson has agreed to be a Minnesota Twin for their inaugural season at Target Field.
Let's get right to the point here: this is VERY exciting. The Twins suddenly (or perhaps not all that suddenly) look like legitimate contenders. I look at this as essentially the Twins' version of what the Yankees did last offseason. While the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett for upwards of $420 million dollars, the Twins turned in a much smaller market version by signing Jim Thome and now Hudson to $7.5 million total and trading for J.J. Hardy.
And they've filled the gaping holes that have perennially plagued their lineups in seasons past. Hudson will anchor second base, where the Twins had the worst OPS of any position on any team in 2009 (.566). Hardy, looking to rebound from a poor 2009 season, will man shortstop, where fans were either forced to watch Orlando Cabrera's vanishing defense or Nick Punto's unsightly plate appearances in 2009. Thome will provide some pop to the bench, when it otherwise would have been the thoroughly frightening Matt Tolbert and Brendan Harris/Alexi Casilla/Punto combination.
Just look at the OPS numbers of the Twins' probable lineup:
(2009, 2010 Bill James projection vs. 2009 positional average)
Catcher (Joe Mauer): 1.031, .953 -- .713
1B (Justin Morneau): .878, .873 -- .843
2B (Orlando Hudson): .774, .762 -- .749
3B (Punto/Harris): .621, .638/.672, .730 -- .753
SS (J.J. Hardy): .659, .742 -- .718
LF (Delmon Young): .733, .769 -- .777
CF (Denard Span): .807, .780 -- .745
RF (Michael Cuddyer): .862, .825 -- .787
DH (Jason Kubel): .907, .852 -- .779
That looks like it's going to be fun to watch.