February 14, 2010

Twins Notes: Perkins, Morales, Butera, and Snow

  • Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune penned a lengthy, well-done article detailing Glen Perkins' strained relationship with the Twins stemming from his arm injury and the team's subsequent service-time shenanigans. While the two sides officially settled the grievance filed on Perkins' behalf by the players' union, the 25-year-old left-hander is clearly still upset about the whole thing costing him as much as $500,000 and sounds like someone who expects to be traded:

    I guess I really found out the hard way that it's a business. I spent my life cheering for that team. I got drafted by them and got to the majors quick, and two weeks later we're in the playoffs. I had a really good year in '08, and everything was rosy. You find out the hard way that it doesn't really matter.

    I think I'm more prepared for this year than I ever have been. I feel like I'm going into an uphill battle [for a roster spot], but I'm fine. My arm's healthy, and I feel like I'm a major league pitcher. I'm sure if they don't think that, then someone else does.

    I'm hardly plugged into the Twins' front office, but have heard from multiple sources "with knowledge of the situation" (as reporters so often phrase it) that the team is basically just waiting for Perkins to show that he's healthy this spring before trading him. Perkins simply isn't good enough for the combination of injuries, inconsistent performance, and an off-field grievance not to cause a team to sour on him and the Twins apparently tried to trade him to the Padres for Kevin Kouzmanoff earlier this offseason.

  • Last week the Twins had to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Orlando Hudson, and presumably one of the reasons for dropping Jason Pridie rather than Drew Butera is that Jose Morales sounds less and less likely to be ready for Opening Day following wrist surgery. Morales began experiencing wrist problems in September, but waited until last month before deciding on surgery and then for some reason delayed actually going under the knife for another two weeks.At best he'll be cleared to resume baseball activities in mid-March and even a slight setback would rule him out for Opening Day, so the Twins will likely need a third catcher to begin the season. Butera was seemingly placed on the 40-man roster for just this type of situation and the Twins previously talked him up as a great defender behind the plate, but now LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reports that "there are some concerns about Butera's catching skills."

    Butera has hit .214/.296/.317 in the minors, including .211/.268/.292 in 99 games at Triple-A last year, so if his "catching skills" are anything less than amazing he's essentially a worthless player. His place on the 40-man roster was a mistake to begin with and now the Twins are hesitant to even let him fill in for Morales, with Ron Gardenhire beginning to stump for Wilson Ramos. Butera is awful, but I'd hate to interrupt Ramos' development and start his service time just to back up Joe Mauer for a couple weeks.

  • Early on this offseason there was speculation about the Twins re-signing Orlando Cabrera, mostly because Gardenhire repeatedly made it obvious that he'd love to have him back. Instead the front office dealt for J.J. Hardy to replace him at shortstop and then signed Hudson to start at second base, which is the only other position Cabrera has played. Cabrera ended up signing with the Reds for a one-year deal that guarantees him $3 million and includes a mutual option for 2011. Twins were smart to pass.
  • Dave Cameron of Fan Graphs wrote an intriguing article about Mauer's unique, opposite field-driven hit chart and suggests that teams should employ separate infield and outfield shifts to neutralize him.
  • Whoever runs the Twins' official Twitter account posted two photos of a snow-covered Target Field:
    Click the picture to see the full-sized versions. I bet at least half that snow will be gone by Opening Day.
  • Unfortunately my day job precluded me from actually being involved in the project, but that won't stop me from recommending that anyone who likes this blog should get the recently released Twins Annual 2010 from Maple Street Press. I've previously worked with Maple Street Press on a couple of non-Twins publications and know that they always put out high-quality products, and their inaugural Twins offering is spearheaded by John Bonnes and features a great writing lineup from the blogosphere and beyond.In addition to the Twins Geek, the list of contributors also includes Seth Stohs, Nick Nelson, Phil Miller, Howard Sinker, Parker Hageman, Phil Mackey, Darren Wolfson, Judd Spicer, Josh Johnson, Stew Thornley, Jim Thielman, Andrew Kneeland, Dan Wade, and Adam Peterson. You get 128 pages full of great Twins writing, full-color photographs, and top-notch design work for just $12.99, all while helping to support a blogosphere that churns out so much great content for absolutely free all year. Go buy it.


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    February 12, 2010

    Link-O-Rama

  • It was fun while it lasted, but apparently I'm no longer cool.
  • HitFix.com's Daniel Fienberg wrote a slew of lengthy, excellent essays celebrating the best television shows of the past decade. If you're as into great TV as me, I'd suggest starting at his No. 1 show and then working your way through the whole series.
  • If you only read one story today about an MLB player's grandfather starting a drunken brawl with cops by groping an NBA player's wife, make it this one. You're welcome.
  • I'm not normally apt to pick on my fellow fatsos, but this could be my only opportunity to actually look good compared to an NFL first-round pick.
  • I'm worried that the unique stipulations in Ronnie Belliard's new contract with the Dodgers may give NBCSports.com and Rotoworld some ideas.
  • I'm not sure we're totally ready for him, but Mini Daddy is about to take over the music world:
    You know a video is good when you can't understand a single word and don't care one bit.
  • I'm not sure how to explain it, but this absurd "day in the life" of former Red Sox backup catcher Doug Mirabelli really cracked me up.
  • Public service announcement: One of the most underrated television shows ever, The Larry Sanders Show, is now available on Hulu. Hey now!
  • And if you're already a The Larry Sanders Show fan, then this story will make you sad.
  • Rotoworld got a couple nice shout-outs recently. Peter Gammons told SI.com that "there are some people with great thoughts and minds writing for Rotoworld" and Cardinals pitcher Blake Hawksworth described how he "got on Rotoworld" to learn of the team re-signing Matt Holliday.
  • Speaking of Rotoworld, our annual Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide is now available. I'm the editor, and along with Matthew Pouliot, Drew Silva, D.J. Short, and several other writers spent an insane amount of time working on the product for the past couple months, so if you're a fantasy baseball player please consider checking it out. Just last week we received the "Best Online Draft Kit" award from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, so it'll definitely be worth the money and also keeps me employed.
  • Some unfortunate news about the Mad Men cast for the upcoming season, although staring at these pictures will probably wipe it from your memory.
  • Three words: Ron. F***ing. Swanson:
    And it's reassuring to see that even in real life he's "a simple man who likes pretty, dark-haired women and breakfast food." Words to live by. And maybe even die for.
  • Grant Desme has me thinking about quitting this whole writing thing for rabbinical school.
  • As if the combination of a post-apocalyptic wasteland and a longtime Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate didn't put The Book of Eli far enough into my wheelhouse, one of the early scenes featured Denzel Washington listening to Al Green. Only the lack of Chinese food and Joe Mauer kept the movie from essentially being custom-made for me and the whole thing was visually stunning, but somehow it just missed being a great move. I'd instead call it good, hugely enjoyable, and intriguing. Grade: B.
  • While the film falls just short of being great the aforementioned Mila Kunis gets an A-plus, because in addition to looking fantastic she did a very nice job with kind of an odd role. She's been on the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com short list for quite a while now and seeing The Book of Eli may have convinced me that she's ready for the throne, although a couple new contenders have emerged lately. I'll get into that further next week, but for now you can study Kunis' case here and here and here.
  • Kunis may be gaining on her, but reigning Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Keeley Hazell won't give up the title without a fight.
  • Friend of AG.com and former KFAN radio personality Doogie Wolfson has landed a new gig working with Joe Schmit at the local ABC affiliate. Always nice when good stuff happens to good people.
  • Speaking of KFAN, they may finally have competition in the local sports radio scene after yesterday's announcement that KSTP-1500 is becoming an ESPN affiliate. Unfortunately it sounds like the shift to all-sports mostly just means adding a bunch of syndicated ESPN shows rather than new local voices, with the bulk of KSTP's in-house programming still consisting of Patrick Reusse and Joe Soucheray.
  • Earlier this week a college student e-mailed to inquire about an internship. I'm thinking about doing it, Kramerica-style:
    Think how much better my blogging could be with an actual chicken.
  • The highlight of my week: Dennis Scott sent me a message on Twitter. To celebrate, I watched this.
  • Vikings play-by-play man Paul Allen got kind of worked up announcing Brett Favre's interception.
  • When he's not busy designing the banner for this blog, Dan Olson is getting back on the mound after an 11-year hiatus in the hopes of impressing at an MLB tryout camp.
  • In ranking the 10 best "parents' basements" among baseball bloggers, Sam Hutcheson pretty much nailed my living conditions.
  • Some of the highlights from my NBCSports.com blogging this week:- Dykstra is back, with some more can't-miss investment advice
    - Another sad 'Dykstra on investing' update
    - Chipper and McCann think Heyward is ready
    - Indians may give rookie Brantley a shot in left
    - Yankees find their platoon bat in Thames
    - Erstad may have made his last scrappy out
    - Shields unlikely to be ready for spring training
    - SABR is giving away a free baseball book
  • Finally, in honor of Stephon Marbury being washed-up enough to have access to all the tea in China this week's AG.com-approved music video is Richie Havens covering "Tupelo Honey" by Van Morrison:

  • Once you're done here, check out my NBCSports.com blog and Twitter updates.

    February 9, 2010

    Twins Waive Jason Pridie, Sign Jacque Jones


    Forced to clear a spot on the 40-man roster after signing Orlando Hudson last week, the Twins waived Jason Pridie and lost him to a claim by the Mets yesterday. Someone in the front office was a big Pridie fan because the Twins actually acquired him twice, first as a Rule 5 pick in December of 2005 and then as part of the Matt Garza-for-Delmon Young swap with Tampa Bay in November of 2007. Unfortunately, for all his supposed tools Pridie just never showed that he could hit even Double-A or Triple-A pitching.

    He hit .248/.297/.360 in 231 games at Double-A and .277/.315/.434 in 322 games at Triple-A, including an abysmal .265/.295/.382 with an 85-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 121 games at Rochester last year. Pridie logged over 2,300 plate appearances between the two levels, and per 150 games struck out 122 times compared to just 31 non-intentional walks. Toss in modest power and he just wasn't going to be a valuable big leaguer despite having good speed and a strong glove.

    Pridie had been atop the Twins' list of possible fifth outfielders, but that was almost by default and guys with his basic skill set and utility will be available on waivers or minor-league contracts from now until Opening Day (and perhaps from now until the end of time). In fact, as soon as Pridie was claimed off waivers by the Mets yesterday the Twins announced that they'd signed another potential fifth outfielder to a minor-league deal: Jacque Jones. Yes, that Jacque Jones.

    Two months ago Jones personally attended the winter meetings in the hopes of talking someone into giving him a comeback opportunity at age 35, but he predictably found that to be a tough sell. Jones left the Twins as a free agent after the 2005 season and was last a reasonably productive player in 2007, batting .285/.335/.400 for the Cubs. He fell off a cliff in 2008, hitting .147 in 42 games for the Tigers and Marlins, and spent last season playing for the independent league Newark Bears.

    While the Twins could certainly use a fifth outfielder capable of backing up Denard Span in center field, the odds of a 35-year-old Jones fitting that bill seem slim given that he's three seasons removed from playing the position regularly or holding his own versus big-league pitching. Toss in the fact that Jones was nearly useless against left-handed pitching even in his prime and it's tough to see him fitting into an outfield/designated hitter mix that already includes lefty bats Span, Jason Kubel, and Jim Thome.

    Jones' contract includes an invitation to spring training, but the Twins have indicated that he's unlikely to make the team and has already agreed to report to Triple-A if not on the Opening Day roster. There's no real harm in letting him come to camp and giving Jones one last chance to salvage his career with a stint at Rochester may not even be such a bad idea depending on how the minor-league depth chart shakes out, but they can do better in even the most rudimentary search for a fifth outfielder.

    In terms of best fitting the roster ideally the job calls for a right-handed bat (or switch-hitter) with a good glove and plus speed, experience in all three outfield spots, and some semblance of either power or on-base skills. Pridie and Jones fail that description on multiple levels, but there's no urgency to find a better fit and in fact waiting until the end of spring training could yield the best results once teams start trying to slip guys through waivers. Or they could just trust Nick Punto to handle center field in a pinch.



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    February 7, 2010

    Top 40 Twins Prospects of 2010: 25, 24, 23, 22, 21

    Other entries in Top 40 Twins Prospects of 2010 series: 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 26-30, 31-35, 36-40.

    25. Deolis Guerra | Starter | DOB: 4/89 | Throws: Right | Trade: Mets
    
    YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
    2007     A+     21     20     4.01      89.2      80      9      66     25
    2008     A+     26     25     5.47     130.0     138     12      71     71
    2009     A+     16     15     4.69      86.1      95      6      57     25
             AA     12     11     5.17      62.2      62      4      49     17

    When the Twins got Deolis Guerra from the Mets two offseasons ago he was considered arguably the highest-upside prospect in the four-player package for Johan Santana. At the time he was 18 years old with a 3.27 ERA, 135-to-65 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and .228 opponents' batting average in 179 innings at Single-A, which along with his 6-foot-5 frame, plus fastball, fantastic changeup, and high ground-ball rate seemingly gave him a huge ceiling. Unfortunately he's been a mess ever since.

    Because the Mets pushed Guerra so aggressively prior to the trade the Twins sent him back to high Single-A as a 19-year-old in 2008 when they normally would have had him in rookie-ball with the other teenagers. He struggled there, posting a 5.47 ERA and 71-to-71 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 130 innings, and was back at high Single-A for a third stint to begin last year. The third time wasn't exactly a charm for Guerra, but the Twins promoted him to Double-A at midseason anyway and he struggled there too.

    Guerra is still the third-youngest pitcher on this list at 21 years old, but has a 5.16 ERA and 177-to-113 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 279 innings since the trade while seeing his velocity drop into the 80s and his grounders turn into fly balls. No one seems quite sure how to explain the decline in his stuff, but right now he looks like anything but a high-ceiling prospect and realistically should be spending 2010 at low Single-A rather than Double-A, where he'll be by far the youngest guy and take up a 40-man roster spot.

    24. Ben Tootle | Reliever | DOB: 1/88 | Throws: Right | Draft: 2009-3
    
    YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
    2009     RK      6      0     0.00       6.1       4      0       1      2

    Ben Tootle had limited success as a college starter against modest competition at Jacksonville State, but his performance last year can perhaps be blamed on a stomach virus that caused him to lose 20 pounds and the Twins liked his raw stuff enough to make him the No. 101 overall pick last June. Tootle started 43 games compared to just one relief outing in college, but his pro debut came in the bullpen at rookie-level Elizabethton and that figures to be his long-term role.

    Much like with fellow 2009 draftee Billy Bullock the Twins are hoping to take Tootle's mid-90s fastball and mold him into a late-inning reliever, although various reports suggest that his slider has the ability to be a plus pitch eventually as well. If that happens he has a chance to be pretty overpowering, but for now Tootle just has a half-dozen pro innings under his belt following a three-year college career that included a 4.83 ERA in the Ohio Valley Conference.

    Prior to last season's health problems Baseball America ranked Tootle as the fourth-best prospect in the Cape Cod summer league and he went 10-2 with a 3.87 ERA and 79-to-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 86 innings during his sophomore year at Jacksonville State, so certainly his radar-gun readings aren't the sole reason to like Tootle's upside. Rarely have the Twins targeted power arms with questionable command, so it'll be interesting to see if they were right to adjust that strategy for Bullock and Tootle.

    23. Luke Hughes | Third Base | DOB: 8/84 | Bats: Right | Sign: Australia
    
    YEAR     LV      PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     HR    XBH     BB     SO
    2007     AA     362     .283     .356     .438      9     29     34     68
    2008     AA     319     .319     .385     .551     15     33     28     70
            AAA     117     .283     .325     .453      3     11      7     30
    2009     AA     229     .250     .320     .445      6     24     19     38
            AAA     157     .259     .344     .481      6     16     18     38

    Luke Hughes struggled in the low minors after being signed out of Australia as an 18-year-old in 2002, but has hit well enough since advancing to Double-A in 2007 that his bat looks like a possible asset in the majors. Unfortunately his glove is another issue, with Hughes bouncing from second base to third base while also seeing time as a corner outfielder. At the plate he's been close to Danny Valencia, but whereas Valencia projects as a decent third baseman Hughes seems destined to wind up in left field.

    Even setting aside his uncertain future defensively he's far from a finished product offensively. Hughes has shown very good power at Double-A and Triple-A, but has drawn a grand total of just 106 walks in 1,184 plate appearances between the two levels while striking out 20 percent of the time. He hit just .250 at New Britain and .257 at Rochester last year, dropping his career mark to .270. Hughes' power is good enough to get him to the majors, but weak secondary skills may limit him to part-time work.

    Even if the Twins were willing to live with Hughes' glove at third base Valencia is clearly ahead of him on the position's long-term depth chart, so he'll almost certainly head back to Triple-A and may need an injury to Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, Delmon Young, or Jim Thome to get a shot for a call-up as a bat to plug into the lineup at a spot where his defense won't be an issue. Hughes has a chance to be a useful player, but his many flaws make him look like a poor man's Ty Wigginton.

    22. Robert Delaney | Reliever | DOB: 9/84 | Throws: Right | Sign: America
    
    YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
    2007     A-     36      0     0.77      46.2      25      1      56      6
             A+     17      0     1.54      23.1      19      1      27     10
    2008     A+     23      0     1.42      31.2      24      1      34      4
             AA     23      0     1.05      34.1      20      2      38      7
    2009     AA     26      0     2.00      36.0      32      1      40      6
             AAA    36      0     4.53      47.2      43      5      38     15

    Robert Delaney went into last year with a 1.91 ERA and 185-to-28 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 174 innings as a pro, including a 1.05 ERA in 23 appearances at Double-A to finish 2008, yet the Twins had such little trust in the former undrafted free agent that they sent him back to New Britain to begin last season. Delaney logged another 36 innings there with a 2.00 ERA and 40-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio, at which point they finally promoted him to Triple-A just months before his 25th birthday.

    For the first time in his career Delaney was something less than spectacular with a 4.53 ERA over 47.2 innings at Rochester, including several really ugly outings, but a .240 opponents' batting average and 38-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio suggest that it was more rough patch than proof of being overmatched. Of course, in either case the Twins were already skeptical enough of Delaney's upside that he'll likely need to post a sub-2.00 ERA just to be an option for a call-up in the second half.

    Delaney is a fly-ball pitcher without overpowering raw stuff, so keeping the ball in the ballpark figures to be an issue, but his combination of a low-90s fastball and sharp slider has racked up 263 strikeouts in 257.2 career innings. He's not going to be a dominant reliever and is even less likely than fellow slowly promoted prospect Anthony Slama to emerge as a viable late-inning option, but Delaney's track record suggests that he can be a solid middle reliever at worst and he deserves a chance to prove it soon.

    21. Alex Burnett | Reliever | DOB: 7/87 | Throws: Right | Draft: 2005-12
    
    YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
    2007     A-     27     27     3.02     155.0     140      9     117     38
    2008     A+     28     25     3.76     143.2     151     12      84     36
    2009     A+     18      0     1.99      22.2      14      0      26      7
             AA     40      0     1.79      55.1      36      2      52     19

    A full-time starter for the first four seasons of his pro career, Alex Burnett ranked No. 22 on this list last year despite declining strikeout rates because of consistent success while being young for each level. He was shaping up to be a potential middle-of-the-rotation starter down the road, but instead the Twins moved him to the bullpen last season and watched as he dominated in 58 appearances between high Single-A and Double-A as a 21-year-old.

    He whiffed 78 batters in 78 innings after totaling just 84 strikeouts in 143.2 innings as a starter in 2008, holding opponents to a .183 batting average while issuing 2.5 non-intentional walks per nine innings. History is filled with mediocre starters who became dominant relievers, but making the move at age 21 is relatively uncommon, especially since Burnett seemed on the path to the majors anyway with a 3.54 ERA as a starter.

    Rather than looking like a fourth or fifth starter Burnett now has the potential to be a late-inning reliever, and moving to the bullpen has also pushed up his timetable considerably. Not only did he have a 1.79 ERA and .187 opponents' batting average at Double-A, of the 110 pitchers logging at least 50 innings in the Eastern League last season only three were younger than Burnett. His control has always been outstanding, so if relief work adds some velocity to his fastball-slider combo Burnett can move quickly.


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    February 4, 2010

    Twins Sign Orlando Hudson To One-Year Deal


    I'm sometimes accused of being overly critical of the Twins' front office, but my response is usually that it can't help but look that way when my "job" here is to analyze and give opinions about their moves and the "bad" have simply outnumbered the "good" since Terry Ryan stepped down as general manager in September of 2007. In other words, Bill Smith's first 18 months on the job just didn't feature a whole lot of moves to praise.

    He dealt Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett for Delmon Young and Brendan Harris, got a mediocre return for Johan Santana, and gave out millions to Craig Monroe, Livan Hernandez, Nick Punto, Mike Lamb, Adam Everett, Juan Rincon, and Luis Ayala. Was every move a bad one? Of course not, but the entire body of work was pretty damn ugly and I said so as the moves rolled in, without the benefit of hindsight, which understandably comes across as "overly critical" at times. But thankfully, times have changed.

    Smith's second season on the job was sort of a mixed bag, but certainly included several moves worth praising, and this offseason the front office has basically been flawless from trading for J.J. Hardy and signing Jim Thome to retaining Carl Pavano and letting Orlando Cabrera leave. And now the icing on the offseason cake is inking Orlando Hudson to a one-year, $5 million deal, which in addition to simply being a very good move is also something that I've long been campaigning for in this space.

    Operating under the assumption that Ron Gardenhire will do everything he can to play Punto regularly somewhere, the Twins' early moves left them with essentially one lineup opening at either second or third base. Gardenhire's tendency to use a speedy infielder as his No. 2 hitter also made it likely that one of the two guys playing those positions would slide into the lineup between Denard Span and Joe Mauer. Hudson capably checks both boxes as a good all-around second baseman and nice No. 2 bat.

    Last year Twins second basemen ranked dead last in all of baseball with a combined .209/.302/.267 line, so Hudson's career .281/.348/.431 mark represents a massive upgrade and his adjusted OPS+ has actually improved in four straight seasons despite the fact that he turned 32 years old this winter. He doesn't really stand out in any one area offensively, but per 150 games Hudson usually bats around .285 with 10 homers, 50 total extra-base hits, 60 walks, and 5-10 steals. He's just a good, solid player.

    Among guys who played at least 100 games at second base Hudson's adjusted OPS+ ranked 9th, 7th, 13th, and 7th during the past four seasons, so even accounting for some potential age-related decline he's likely to be among the position's top 10 hitters in 2010. He's posted an on-base percentage above .350 in each of those four seasons and is a switch-hitter with similar production from either side of the plate, both of which make him a particularly good fit in the No. 2 spot.

    Hudson teams with Span to put two strong on-base threats directly in front of the lineup's big boppers and also provides a potential right-handed bat in the midst of lefties Span, Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Jason Kubel. He also gives the Twins a pretty decent chance to have above-average hitting from eight of the nine spots in the lineup, with only third base looking like a clear weak spot (assuming that Hardy bounces back). Of course, while a very good fit for the Twins at $5 million Hudson still has some flaws.

    Defensively he has an excellent reputation built by winning four Gold Gloves in the past five years, but a look at some advanced metrics suggests that his range began slipping around age 28. Ultimate Zone Rating pegged Hudson as right about average defensively in both 2006 and 2007 before falling to five runs below average per 150 games between 2008-2009. In other words we'll constantly hear praise for Hudson's glove this season, but given his age and UZR numbers he's likely to be average at best.

    Another potential problem area is Hudson's high ground-ball rate. He had the fourth-most grounders in baseball last year at 56 percent and is at 50 percent for his career, which along with good but not great speed and Span constantly being on first base could equal a ton of double plays. He's hit into a DP in 16.5 percent of his DP chances over the past three years. To put that in context Mauer is often criticized for frequent double plays, yet has done so in only 12.4 percent of his DP chances during that time.

    So he's fairly old, not as good as his reputation defensively, and likely to hit into a bunch of DPs batting second, but let's be very clear: Hudson is an excellent acquisition in an offseason full of sound moves and represents a massive all-around upgrade over the various options the Twins could have trotted out at second base. Smith, Rob Antony, and the rest of the front office deserved any criticism they received for their 18 months on the job and now they deserve credit for what has been a fantastic offseason.


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