Orlando Hudson on the verge of joining Twins

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Twins GM Bill Smith deserves some credit, finally

By: Andy Weise

Sometimes when I think of Minnesota Twins General Manager Billy Smith, the famous Dumb & Dumber line comes up. “Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself!”

Seriously, Orlando Hudson? Hudson will reportedly sign a one year, $5 million deal to play second base for the Minnesota Twins this year. Billy oh Billy (like the tune from Billy Madison), what a great signing for the Twins. There is plenty of excitement for a franchise heading outdoors for the first time in 20 plus years and with rumors of Joe Mauer’s extension complementing a signing like Hudson, the anticipation couldn’t be any higher.

The Twins were looking for a second basemen and preferably someone who could bat second in the lineup after leadoff hitter Denard Span. Hudson is a reliable fielder and hitter and will definitely pick up where Orlando Cabrera left off last year for the Twins. Hudson’s signing is so influential it pretty much takes the Twins offseason from average to above average.

When you think of Bill Smith, this is the guy who took over for Terry Ryan, a guy who preferred focusing on the farm system and scouting versus dealing with big time contracts. Smith took over when Johan Santana had a year left on his deal and Torii Hunter was entering free agency. We all know how those situations ended, the Santana trade will go down as one of the biggest busts and Hunter took a deal of $90 million over five years from the Angels versus a three year offer for $45 million from the Twins.

How do you like that for the first few months on the job? Smith would then do something many Twins fans might dislike even more than the Santana trade. Matt Garza for Delmon Young and somewhere in that deal included shortstop Jason Bartlett. Ouch.

While Smith did sign Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Joe Nathan to long term contracts, fans have grow accustomed in Minnesota to never expect the Twins to be competitive in free agency. Something changed last year though when the three players mentioned above started talking the future of Joe Mauer: bring in talent or risk losing Mauer to a team that competes for a title every year.

Somehow Smith used band-aids to put together another AL Division Champion last year. Orlando Cabrera, Carl Pavano and Jon Rauch were among the players acquired for the playoff run. Former MVP Justin Morneau was out, as was reliable starter Kevin Slowey. Yep, somehow the Twins pulled together an incredible September and won game 163 before getting clobbered by the Yankees in the playoffs.

This year the goal is more clear, not only win the division but beat a team like the Yankees in the playoffs. Pavano resigned, Carlos Gomez, who headlined the Santana trade and was reduced to a defensive replacement, was traded for shortstop J.J. Hardy. Twins killer Jim Thome was brought in for another big bat and now Orlando Hudson will fill your two spot (2nd base and second in the batting order). Reliever Pat Neshek returns after missing nearly two years. Morneau and Slowey return from injuries and hopefully Joe Mauer signs a big extension.

Target Field has no roof and the Twins should not have to wait long to test the weather in October, because the Twins will be contenders!

Projected Lineup:
Batting Order: 1. Denard Span (CF) 2. Orlando Hudson (2B) 3. Joe Mauer (C) 4. Justin Morneau (1B) 5. Michael Cuddyer (RF) 6. Jason Kubel (DH) 7. Delmon Young (LF) 8. JJ Hardy (SS) 9. Nick Punto (3B)

Bench: Brendan Harris (Utility), Jim Thome (DH), Jose Morales (C), Matt Tolbert (utility)

Starting Rotation:
1. Scott Baker
2. Kevin Slowey
3. Nick Blackburn
4. Carl Pavano
5. Francisco Liriano

Bullpen:
Closer: Joe Nathan
Setup: Matt Guerrier/Jose Mijares
Other: Jon Rauch/Pat Neshek/Jesse Crain
Long Relief: Brian Duensing

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Comments

  1. The AL Central blows. Every team except the Twins has taken a step back this offseason, or was never in a position to contend in the first place. Minnesota should run away with the division pretty easily, but it’ll be interesting how they handle the expectations seeing as they seem to perform best when counted out.

  2. Andy Weise says

    Twins probably have the most talented squad hitting-wise they’ve had in a long, long time. Starting pitching was the main issue last year, if guys like Slowey/Blackburn/Baker continue to grow and Liriano continues the dominance he had in Winter ball, look out!

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