For Orlando Hudson, the long national nightmare is over. He finally has a team.
After more than three months of free agency, Hudson and the Dodgers came to terms on a one year/$3.4 million dollar contract. The deal could be worth upwards of $7 million bucks if Hudson reaches all incentives.
For the Dodgers, I love this deal. Hudson is a very good player, who can make a significant impact in 2009 both offensively and defensively. Don't let the mild contract fool you, Hudson is one of the best second baseman in the league. He could very well score 100 runs, hit above .300, produce a .370+ OBP, and play gold glove caliber defense. That's quite a package for the Dodgers at the low price of $3 million.
And don't get me wrong, I like Blake Dewitt. I think he's got a future in this league and showed quite a bit last season with the Dodgers. However, the Dodgers are building to win now. And let's face it, Hudson gives the Dodgers the best chance to win right now. Not only did the Dodgers add a fine player, but they signed Hudson away from the Diamondbacks, who are a division rival. Quite a pickup for the Dodgers.
The only downside of this signing is that the Dodgers have to surrender their first overall pick (#17) to the Diamondbacks. But, c'mon people, who cares? The objective is to win now. The Dodgers, assuming they sign Manny Ramirez, will be legitimate pennant contenders in 2009 as their roster up and down is as good as anyone else's in the National League. Their starting pitching might be suspect, but I have supreme confidence in Kershaw, Kuroda, and Billingsley. I expect big things from those three in 2009.
Now all that's left is for the Dodgers to sign Manny Ramirez. If/When that day comes, the Dodgers will officially be among the National League's top contenders for the National League pennant. It's a good day to be a Dodger fan.
As for Hudson, this one has to be bittersweet. Yes, it's great to finally have a team and a contract in hand, but this came at a severely reduced rate. Remember, Hudson was originally looking for a 4 year deal worth $9-$10 million per season. Needless to say, he never came close to that. What a shame. It'll be interesting to see what Hudson can get on the open market in 2010, hopefully by then the market will have turned around. There is no reason why a good season with the Dodgers should not translate into a big contract next year....as long as the economy is in better shape.
Let's all say a prayer for that!