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Orlando and the Giants

The last time the Giants acquired a decaying veteran named Orlando, there were tears. There was gnashing of teeth. There were slow infield dribblers. Sometimes they were fielded cleanly, sometimes they weren't. Depended on which side of the ball that Orlando was. It was awful.

And now there's another Orlando on the market. Orlando Hudson -- O-Dawg, with extra "w"s added and subtracted as needed depending on your level of mirth and excitement -- is a free agent. His qualifications:

  • He's 34
  • His on-base percentage is .260
  • His defense is declining

Hmm. I'm intrigued. So when the guy with the beard asked him to drink from the grail, he chose the Miguel Tejada-shaped grail. He chose ... poorly. But those are just the cons. What about the pros?

  • He's not Emmanuel Burriss
  • He's not Charlie Culberson

Well, that's a helluva sales pitch you've got there, friend. Over at Bay City Ball, Chris breaks it down a bit:

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.

Danny Knobler had an amusing succession of tweets about Hudson yesterday:

From @ScottMCBS, one scout on Hudson: "He plays so deep at 2B because his range is gone. And then he dives at balls like he's body surfing."


And on Hudson's baserunning: "It's like he's playing T-ball. Run til you're out."


He can't play. If (the Giants) sign him, you'll hate him more than anyone they have.

Challenge accepted!

Knobler is right, of course. On a normal team, Hudson is a gross, icky option. The Padres -- the Padres -- were willing to eat $6 million or so just to get him off the team. That's literally their entire season-ticket profit down the tubes just to get a player off the roster. He must have looked terrible. Beyond bad. Like Orlando Cabrera looked last year.

And yet ...

  • He's not Emmanuel Burriss
  • He's not Charlie Culberson

I'm sold. Seriously. I'm not going to write off Culberson's chances and building some sort of career, but I'm certain that he can't help the 2012 Giants. His plate discipline was abysmal in AA last year -- 22 walks and 129 strikeouts in 553 at-bats. I don't care if he's playing in the Eastern League or underwater, that's bad. And even though he had a .496 slugging percentage (and .320 OBP, naturally) in Fresno, it came with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 28/7 in 141 at-bats. That's seven walks in 141 at-bats. Lots of chasing out of the strike zone. That's not going to get better in the majors, and his defense isn't so magical that it can make up for that.

And Emmanuel Burriss ... well ... we'll always have Paris.

The Giants started a Burriss/Crawford/Culberson/Pill infield the other day. That is literally the worst infield I can ever remember the Giants starting since leaving Candlestick. Wait, no. You can always count on 2008. But it's close to the worst infield I can remember. And Hudson had a 94 OPS+ last year, with a 96 OPS+ the year before that.

His numbers look worse because of Petco (and Target Field). They're not good. They're nothing less than awful this season. But it's worth remembering that the scouts were saying the same things about Pat Burrell in 2010. Bat was gone. Couldn't field. Just because that worked out, it doesn't mean that a Hudson deal would work out. Don't forget the other Orlando. Never forget. But when the alternatives are Burriss and Culberson (and Theriot, when healthy), I'll take a gamble on Hudson.

Bonds help me, I would take a gamble on Orlando Hudson. And, wait, what's that? Melvin Mora rumors? Oh, god, okay, oh, man, whew, oh boy oh god, oh, that makes me make Cathy noises, but okay. Throw him onto the pile. Couldn't be worse. Could not be worse.