Yes, it’s come to this. Today the Padres announced that they’ve released 34-year-old second baseman Orlando Hudson.
“We felt it was time to make a change,” general manager Josh Byrnes said in a statement. “O-Dog has been a two-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and a contributor to playoff teams, but at this point, we want to give our younger players an opportunity.”
Hudson was hitting .211 with one homer and 11 RBIs. Bartlett, whose move to the DL was retroactive to Tuesday, was hitting .133 with four RBIs.
Boy, it sure is hard to look at a player that’s batting .211, has lost a defensive step, and isn’t hitting for any kind of power, or getting on base, and call him an upgrade. Here goes: Orlando Hudson would most likely be an upgrade for the Giants at second base. Maybe not a significant upgrade, but an upgrade nonetheless.
Why is Hudson an upgrade, you ask? Mostly for the fact that — and I don’t know if you know this — the Giants’ collective of second basemen right now is really, really bad.
Here are the ZiPS updated wOBA projections for the following players:
Player ZiPS Updated wOBA Orlando Hudson .290 Ryan Theriot .268 Joaquin Arias .273 Emmanuel Burriss .265
I don’t think you can downplay Hudson’s horrific start to the year — his current wRC+ of 60 is truly ugly. He’s striking out more than ever before (20.6%; career 15.2%) while walking less (6.1%; career 9.0%) than ever before. He’s 34-years-old in “second baseman years.” Which means he’s probably much closer to 136 in human years, I think. If I’m right, for every year a second baseman ages he ages four years in people years. Look it up. I think Bill James wrote about it.
So this clearly isn’t your father’s Orlando Hudson, the scrappy player with modest power that could play a mean second base. Those days are gone.
All those negative things said, Hudson looks like the best option at second base for the Giants right now. His defense is clearly average-ish now. If he can recover and play closer to career norms, even with an aging curve tossed in, his bat is below-average, but not dreadfully so. In short: he’s a much better guy to bet on for 100 games than Ryan Theriot, Joaquin Arias, or Emmanuel Burriss. Theriot is coming off injury and only useful in a platoon role way; Joaquin Arias is a 27-year-old failed prospect that batted .232/.272/.353 last season in the PCL; and Emmanuel Burriss, well, you know.
There’s a chance that Hudson could rebound some and reach the .290 wOBA that ZiPS foresees. Or, he could suck and crash and burn some more, eventually falling out of the major leagues. The Giants should probably take the chance to see if Hudson has anything left in the tank because the team can be certain about one thing right now: the current options are definitely running on empty.