Should the Cubs Have Signed Orlando Hudson?

Los Angeles Dodgers general manager has made some questionable moves in the past - *cough* Juan Pierre *cough* - but you have to admire his creativity with contracts. The latest such deal is for Orlando Hudson and today we get the details via MLBTR and Tony Jackson of the L.A. Daily News. Ultimately it boils down to $3M in guaranteed money this year, $380K in bonus money that has been deferred WITHOUT INTEREST until an unspecified time and up to $5M in incentive bonuses, some of which are also deferred without interest if they are reached.

Early on in the offseason, I hypothesized that the Cubs would get in on Hudson, but there was never much more than a whisper and that came late in the offseason. When the Cubs dealt Mark DeRosa to the Indians, I think it was clear that they didn't have $5M or more for a second basemen this season. The days and weeks dragged on and by February Hudson was going to take whatever he could get and that seems to be $3 to $8M, much of it not due until some ambigous future date. The Dodgers did have to give up their first round pick next year for the privilege of having Hudson turn double plays for them next year and at number 17, that's a pretty steep price. The Dodgers though did get a second round and supplemental pick when the Braves signed Derek Lowe, so not as big as a loss as it could have become for them.

The question though is if Hudson would have made the Cubs better?

2009 Projections...

Marcel OPS
Hudson 2.6 524 .788 .755
Fontenot 1.7 259 .816 .773
Miles 0.4 265 .695 .693


Offensively, the advantage goes to Mike Fontenot, but when you factor in playing time and defense it superficially appears that Hudson has the advantage.

Then we have the all important defensive side of the diamond. Rate2 is a Baseball Prospectus metric on the same scale as OPS+ where 100 is average. UZR/150 is Ultimate Zone Rating defined as the number of runs below or above average per 150 defensive games. Generally, the systems tend to agree with each other, but there's a substantial disparity on Hudson in 2008. 

Career UZR/150
2008 UZR/150
Career Rate2
2008 Rate2
Hudson 3.2 -9.3  114 112
Fontenot 14.1 16.8  108 112
Miles  -2.3 1.2  95 100

My eyes tell me that Hudson is by far the superior defender and I doubt there's many people in baseball that would disagree. I also tend to believe that, like any metric, small sample size tends to skew the results and Mike Fontentot just hasn't played that many games at second base and I've seen nothing to justify that he's one of the best defensive second basemen in the game as those numbers suggest. 

But I do think it's close enough between Fontenot and Hudson that the Cubs didn't have to spend the extra money here, that is until they decided that Aaron Miles was plan B and Lou would try to get him 400 AB's. Now I'm wishing that Hendry stole one from Ned Colletti's contract playbook.


Wasn't Lowe a type A? Even if the Braves have their pick protected, don't the Dodgers get a sandwhich pick for that?

I agree it would have been neat to have Hudson, but not at a contract that could cost up to $8 million and a first round draft pick. We got Miles (admittedly, yeck) and those pitchers from Cleveland for our $2.5 million. Or we could have Hudson, who's skill set may be similar to the Fontenaught (and I don't buy those defensive numbers either) for $5.5 million and a first round pick.

Hard to see where Hendry made a mistake there.

yeah, the Dodgers also got a supplemental pick for Lowe...what the Cubs should have been getting for Kerry Wood.

$8M+ is only if he hits incentives, $1.2M is deferred without interest though, so max cost is $7M for this year. 

It's not that big a deal to me, except when I keep seeing Aaron Miles gets at-bats and I needed a post idea.

I should have been more clear.

If he doesn't hit his incentives, how will he be better than Miles or the Fontenaught?

depends how far along the incentives he gets, but Fangraphs has him at worth $13.9M in 2007 and $8.7M worth of performance the last 2 years and that's with 601 and 455 PA's. So it certainly seems like the Dodgers got a deal if he perfoms like he did the last 2 seasons. Of course, with wrist surgery that's probably why he went unsigned for so long. He also doesn't play shortstop which gives Miles an advantage.

Nonetheless, if Miles is getting the bulk of his AB's at 2b, I think that asking Ricketts if he could find $4M if Hudson hit some incentives wouldn't have been too much to ask.

not that big a deal as I said...

Or, of course, the Cubs just could have kept Mark DeRosa for $5.5 mill...if they'd spend $4 mill on Hudson that is...

But they needed to clear payroll to win the bidding war that ensued for Aaron Miles.

Hindsight being 20/20

The cubs could have signed

Joe Beimel
Ray Durham/or/Orlando Cabrera

this offseason if they chose. Instead they spent the same amount of money on


Hopefully that wasn't a mistake?

Aaron Miles.....Lol..I'm still very...not thrilled by his signing. He hits for average, but doesn't get on base much. He's got almost no power, but he can't steal bases. He can play 2B or at 2B though.

Fangraphs has The Fontenaught at $13.9 million last year and Miles at $8.7 million. Their combined salary, no matter how much PT they get is what, $3 million?

So you've got $14 - $8 - $3 (for your first round pick) or maybe $18 - $3.

That comes out Hendry $12 million ahead.



gonna guess that Miles is back being the 500K to $1M player the he normally is...hopefully if he's sucking that bad Fontenot will be then getting the playing time and performing at something of a comparable level to last season.

But if Miles is still playing and being the shitty player that he was before 2008, then the Orlando Hudson incentive-laden deal sure would look nice.

we shall see at the end of the season...

I'm confused I guess.

When was Miles annointed full time starter at 2nd base?

just talk now, mostly being that Lou wants to give him 400 AB's and all his lineup guesses say Miles, not Fontenot.

No biggie...

Some of those 400 AB's are going to come at the expense of Theriot and Ramirez too, though.

Offensively, I think our 2nd basemen will be better than the Dodgers. Defensively... probably not so much.

So for $800k more we could have Orlando Hudson, but instead we have to watch Aaron fucking Miles stink it up all year?! Not a big Hendry basher, but damn.

And a first round pick, which the Cubs desperately need in order to shore up a really thin farm system.

True. But I believe if they were worried about draft picks they shouldn't have screwed up the whole Kerry Wood situation. Anyway, too late to bitch now. Hopefully Fontie will hit .300 with no errors and it won't matter.

and Hudson is coming back from wrist even if his wrist is OK, there would be some serious worries about full recovery and re-injury. This is not a common procedure for someone who's career is based on wrist flexibility and strength. I don't know any other mlb player as a comparison. If the ligament repair stretches out his carpal bone anatomy will lead to arthritis over time. Further surgery is also possible and the next step involves limited fusions of involved carpal bones where he could miss a full season. Given our infirmary roster (Harden's shoulder, Soriano's hamstrings, Heilman's knee and Bradley's brittleness), I'm glad we don't have to worry about this one.

This is from Aug 10th, 2008:

Dr. Michael Lee performed the procedure, putting a dislocated bone back in place. Hudson will have another surgery today or Tuesday to repair ligaments. He was injured after colliding with Braves catcher Brian McCann near second base in the sixth inning Saturday. Hudson was attempting to catch an errant throw from Juan Cruz.

The recovery time is expected to be three months.

Are people concerned on this board about our Middle Inf and CF?

Miles/Fonty, Theriot and Fukudome/Reed?

Just doesnt scream best in the NL does it.

2 platoons and a 2B playing SS?

I hope for Fukudome to bounce back and bat 1st or 2nd.

I'd like to Orlando Cabrera signed after draft pick compensation has passed or some deal can be worked out.

there's 5 power hitters surrounding them. it's a 140m team.

even with a manager nodding wanting to get miles 400ab's this season it's enough of a team to keep people from screaming bloody murder on the manager.

we're playing with a whole new set of concerns as a modern cubs fan...esp. the past couple years.

i can't believe the quality of team we have right now...the past 2 years i've never seen this amount of pre-season talent on the cubs in my lifetime. even when a key guy slumps and some other key player is injured the team is still a threat.

You may want to check out this site for your baseball needs:

"a 2B playing SS"

Theriot is a natural SS

And platoons can be effective if the players are fighting over who can help the team more, rather than who can hurt the team less.

Being a huge fan of defense, I would have loved a move for Hudson. It's disconcerting to hear money was an issue. Money hasn't been an issue for the Cubs for some time.

Are people concerned on this board about our Middle Inf and CF?

Miles/Fonty, Theriot and Fukudome/Reed?

Just doesnt scream best in the NL does it.

OH YES. This team absolutely needs a legit SS. I've thought that ever since they got rid of... *shudders* Izturis. Izturis wasn't pretty, but at least he was a big leaguer. Don't get me wrong, I like Theriot, but I truly believe Theriot on the bench is more valuable to the team than Theriot as a starter. He's very patient and bats for average. Exactly what you want in the 8th inning with the tying run at 3B.

As far as CF goes, I think Fuku will be fine. Fuku's numbers from last year were not all that surprising. In fact, I had projected his OPS nearly right on before last year started. I also expect he'll bounce back with "better-than-Jacque-Jones-in-a-good-year" production this year, albeit he'll produce runs rather than RBIs.

lol, remember Izturis massaging Ramirez's groin on camera?

Ahhh, good times.

I believe that was successfully named the "reverse chalupa"
All hail Caesar

If the choice is O-Dawg getting 400+ at bats or Aaron F%*N Miles getting 400+ at bats, then is there really a question.

I know one guy is really gritty and scrappy. But the other guy is actually a productive Major League hitter.

And draft comp cannot be an excuse. If it mattered then Woody would have been offered. Not to mention Hudson will net that pick back next year if he leaves.

Too late now. Oh well. Go Aaron Miles!!!

the story is still awesome the 2nd time...

So I am guessing he is going to be the guy charged with breaking up any fights Z and Bradley get themselves into.

First, "Should the Cubs Be In On John Smoltz?" and now this. I wonder if you actually have built a shrine to Hendry like any decent self-respecting Cubs fan should.

If Hendry says Pie, Koyie Hill and Hudson for Gathright, Bako and Miles is a good trade or that his shit tastes like doughnuts, I have to say I agree.

Yeah..I'd agree on the second point I guess?
Bako...Gathright? What...Kevin Roberson not available?

Muskat: "Why didn't they pursue someone like second baseman Orlando Hudson? One reason was that he's a Type-A free agent, and teams that lose players with that designation receive the top Draft pick from the signing team in addition to a supplemental pick."

Now let's break precedent and actually pick someone who doesn't completely wash out by the time they see the ivy!

I'm hoping for a toolsy outfielder who crushes minor league pitching, but has a bad swing and strikes out a lot at the big league level.

Preferably one who has trouble differentiating balls and strikes.

Sadly, someone who actually gets to the big leagues would be an improvement over the Cubs typical 1st round pick.

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