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Hudson double flaps his way to San Diego 

HudsonWhile the Jason Bartlett deal languishes well into its second week, Hoyer has changed gears and turned his attention to the hole on the other side of second base. The Padres have signed Orlando Hudson to a two year deal worth $11.5 million.

Hudson, 33, comes to the Padres after spending last season in Minnesota. A nine-year veteran, the switch hitter has been one of the most consistent second basemen in the league over the past five years. His wRC+ (park and league-adjusted wOBA) was 105 in 2006, 114 in 07, 115 (career best) in 08, 111 in 09, and 100 last year in 2010. In that same time, his WAR totals have been +2.2, +3.0, +1.5, +2.9, and +3.1. For 2011, Bill James projects a .332 wOBA, but that does not take PETCO Park into consideration. While the park will take a bite out of his wOBA, it’s safe to expect his wRC+ to stay around, if not slightly above, average.  

Defensively, Hudson been less consistent. Despite a career +16.5 UZR and +2.2 UZR/150, he hasn’t fared as well since leaving the astroturf in Toronto. Since 06, the year he was traded to Arizona, Hudson has a -10.3 UZR and -2.3 UZR/150. Last season was a bounce back year for him, with +9.8 UZR and +12.0 UZR/150 but keep in mind that one year of UZR is not enough information to draw any conclusions from. 

Another defensive statistic, John Dewan’s +/- system, is much more favorable to Hudson. In that same time period, Hudson has a +46 DRS (defensive runs saved), which ranks him fourth in the entire league at second base. However, 2010 was a bounce back season for Hudson with +/- as well, as he had a +17 DRS coming off off a +4 in 2009 and -3 in 2008. Overall, for 2011, I would wager that Hudson’s defense will be close to average, walking the tightrope between slightly below and slightly above.

Assuming that the Bartlett trade ever goes through, the Hudson signing completes not only the middle of the infield but the top of the order as well. Over the course of his career, Hudson has amassed 1,823 plate appearances hitting second, almost twice as much as he has anywhere else in the order, and he’ll likely continue his table setting here in San Diego. Who, exactly, he’ll be setting the table for is yet to be seen, as his contract pushes the team’s payroll up near $40 million with Adrian’s successor still to be determined. 

In a vacuum, this is a good deal. The Padres have acquired a quality second baseman for a fair rate. But with Hudson now on board, the Padres are committing nearly half of their payroll to three players, none of which you would really consider a difference maker. How this deal affects Hoyer’s ability to go out and finish assembling the 2011 Padres will ultimately determine the success of this signing.

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