A year ago, the Seattle Mariners were interested in free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson but didn't have the money - and Hudson signed with the Dodgers for one year and $3.38 million.
Now 32 and coming off a year in which he batted .283 with nine home runs, 63 RBI and and an on-base percentage north of .350, Hudson is on the market again.
The Mariners have interest - along with the Tigers, Rockies and Mets.Hudson fits the Don Wakamatsu model, a player who can do a lot of things well, isn't reliant upon power to produce runs and can play defense.
If Seattle pursued and landed Hudson, it would mean moving Jose Lopez to first base. With Russell Branyan still on the market, that would keep Lopez and his bat in the lineup and improve the defense by getting him away from second base.
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Certainly, it's an option the Mariners have discussed - along with a dozen or so others. If Seattle can't land the traditional boppers to hit third, fourth and fifth, why not go for hitters who can help produce without the home run?
Hudson is a switch hitter with a .282 career batting average. If the Mariners add Hudson, it would continue a transition to a contact-hitting team built around pitching and defense. Given how much offense the Mariners need to make up on the rest of the American League, another would be a step forward.
Put enough runners on base, someone has to drive in runs, don't they?
Welcome back, John: John Hickey, the fine beat writer who lost his newspaper when the Seattle P-I stopped publishing last March, starts work this week at AOL's Fanhouse. Hickey's voice has been missed in the Northwest, and in the months to come we'll likely be linking to his work.
And now, a few links:
- The Boston Globe looks at the Red Sox for 2010 and finds the team looking for a first or third baseman - with Adrian Beltre still among the options.
- When Coco Crisp signed with Oakland last week, his first comments on the Athletics lineup sounded as if he were talking about Seattle's. "When you've got speed guys at first base and second base, it changes the whole dynamic of the game," Crisp said. "You get into the pitcher's head, the catcher's head, the manager's, they have to change defensive schemes, move outfielders in. With our legs, we can definitely put pressure on opponents.
- Columnist Phil Rogers looks at the big contracts around baseball and asks how long four superstars with their first teams - Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez - can stay put.
- Jack Zduriencik has made his impression on the Northwest, but the Mariners GM is getting some love nationally, too. Sports Illustrated.com has noticed his work
- Riley Cooper had a big catch in the Sugar Bowl last week and is considering life in the NFL. He's also wondering why the Texas Rangers - who drafted him last June - haven't talked to him in months.