Monday, January 18, 2010

Should The Rockies Pursue Orlando Hudson?


The Colorado Rockies are coming off perhaps their finest season. They finished with a club record 92 wins and were the front-runners for the National League Wild Card for the final month of the season.

Despite losing to the eventual National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies, most would agree that the Rockies '09 squad was more talented than the '07 team that found its way to the World Series with a legendary run to finish the season.

After that 2007 season, while emotions ran high, the Rockies decided to do what it took to keep the core of that young team together and not trade the younger players, or find a better option on the free agent market.

That decision resulted in the Rockies signing the likes of Kip Wells and Josh Towers for added depth to what was thought of as a solid rotation.

After Jeff Francis proved to be underwhelming, and eventually was shut down due to an unknown shoulder injury, the Rockies depth was too shallow to make up for the loss and the team finished with just 74 wins.

In 2009, Dan O'Dowd made a shrewd move, acquiring Jason Marquis from the Cubs for embattled reliever Luis Vizcaino.

Marquis did nothing less than win 15 games and make his first All-Star team.

It seemed as if the Rockies had learned their lesson, making sure to bring in just enough proven talent to fill the needs in case of injury, or underperformance.

While the Rockies are understandably in a better position to stand pat, and the free agent market is perhaps the weakest in years, there are still options out there for the Rockies to improve their team.

One bright spot on the 2009 Rockies squad was Clint Barmes handling the second base duties. His defense was superb, to go along with a stretch in June where Barmes hit over .400.

Despite Barmes incredible June, his offense left something to be desired. His power numbers were impressive, he hit 23 home runs, nearly double his career high, but his on-base percentage came in at just .294, a number that is unacceptable for an everyday player.

Barmes is well known for being a very free swinger, he struck out 121 times while taking a free pass in only 31 plate appearances.

Having Barmes hitting in the eight hole in the lineup is definitely not the worst thing a team could have to worry about. However, the Dodgers failed to offer second baseman Orlando Hudson arbitration, meaning the Rockies could sign the free agent without having to give up a draft pick in return.

Hudson would not be a step back in defense, as he just won the National League Gold Glove at second base, and he could provide a huge spark in the lineup. He is a switch hitter with tons of speed and occasional power.

The move would also allow the Rockies to bring Barmes in off of the bench late in games where they need improved defense. He could be used in a super-utility role that teams desire so much.

With Hudson still looking for a team, he may be willing to take a deal that had a lower base salary and was full of incentives, making him more affordable for the mid-market Rockies.

Even in Hudson was not handed the starting job, a competition for the starting spot at second base would benefit both players, and having Hudson or Barmes off of the bench would surely be a better option than what the Rockies had with Omar Quintanilla filling that role in 2009.

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