Report: Tampa Bay Rays "In" On Orlando Hudson

This possibility was floated by the very same Buster Olney earlier in the off-season as well.  Presumably this would either leave Matt Joyce or Dan Johnson as the lefty bat off the bench (if they wanted to save some service time on Joyce and let him continue playing full time) while Ben Zobrist manned right field and Orlando Hudson took over at second base.

Hudson is a pretty good hitter, especially at second base. He's a switch-hitter with an above average wOBA in every year but one since 2004. He walks, puts the ball into play, and uses his speed. He's essentially an improved Akinori Iwamura; right down to not stealing as many bases as you'd think a guy with his skill set would. Defensively, UZR has scored Hudson as -3.3, -5.1, and 0.5 the last three seasons. Back in the days of yore, Hudson was one of the finest defenders in baseball. He's not that anymore. Plus/Minus and the Fans Scouting Report are still positive on him. Call it -5 < x < 5. That's a downgrade from Ben Zobrist's 2009, but what isn't?

All told, Hudson has the potential to add 2-3 victories, but not without cutting into some of the wins already accumulated. If the cost is right, like say around the $3.4M Hudson made last season, then of course he makes sense. This doesn't mean the Rays aren't confident in or fans of Matt Joyce. Honestly, 2010 is -- please excuse my bluntness - a balls to the wall season. Lots of things can change in 12 months -- too many things to really grasp -- but this seems to be the best chance to win a title for at least the next two years.

I would also add that this isn't the first time this front office has been reportedly interested in acquiring O-Dog. Rumors of him being a target trace back to his final days in Toronto. And consider this: the Rays could conceivably turn Akinori Iwamura into Rafael Soriano, then acquire a slightly better version of Iwamura for less than they would've paid the original Aki. Nifty.

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