For the last 2 off seasons Met fans have been debating furiously with each other on whether or not the Mets should sign Orlando Hudson. I believe the pro Hudson fans last season wanted him for the simple fact that Hudson is not Luis Castillo. Whatever other skills Hudson possessed did not matter to Met fans who wanted to run Luis Castillo out of town after his horrible 2008 season which saw him become a double play machine, a liability on defense and he made many appearance on the disabled list that year as well.
2009 was a bounce back year for Castillo. Castillo finished 2009 with a .302 batting average, a vast improvement from 2008’s .245 batting average. Castillo had a slight spill down the steps of the dugout late into the season but he did avoid the disabled list something that most of the Mets can’t claim. Of course Met fans won’t forget the dropped fly in that Yankee game but 2009 was a good season for Castillo.
I was pro Hudson last year and I’m still pro Hudson. It’s not because Orlando Hudson is not Luis Castillo, it’s because Hudson is the better player. Looking at their offensive stats some would argue that but here is where I see Hudson helping us: He has more power than Castillo and he can hit a single to the outfield. If you really watch Castillo’s at bats most of his singles are either infield singles or they are just out of reach of the infielders which results in outfielders playing a shallower outfield against Castillo which means runners on base can only advance one base. With Orlando Hudson batting that will force both the infield to back up and the outfielders to play deeper in the outfield. Hudson will most likely bat behind Jose Reyes who we all know has a lot speed and on a deep single Jose can run 1st-3rd or from 2nd-home, thus allowing more runs scored.
Another reason I’m so high on Hudson is his defense. Castillo as he has gotten older has lost a bit of range each year in the infield. This is really important now because of our 1st base situation. Reports from the scouts in Puerto Rico on Carlos Delgado are that the very little range he had is gone. Now those same scouts are reporting that Delgado has been seen limping after playing 1st in winter ball and that the Mets might pass on Delgado. If that is true Daniel Murphy will be our first baseman with a possibility that Tatis will play 1st. For those that don’t know that is Tatis’ worst position. Now Murphy was good at 1st last year, he made some nice plays but he lacks the instincts of a 1st baseman since he hasn’t played the position that long. The Mets are going to need a 2nd baseman to pick up the slack and Hudson is that guy.
I don’t think right now as of this writing the Mets will get Hudson. First they have to trade Luis Castillo who makes a lot of money the next two years. If I was a general manager I would be worried that last year was a bit of fluke and Castillo revert back to 2008. Furthermore he is and will be an injury risk for the rest of his career. The Mets would have to pay most if not all of his salary for the rest of his contract. I think it will be financially irresponsible of the Mets to trade Castillo, pay most of his salary and have to pay Hudson for this year.
If the right trade was offered and if the money was not an issue I would hope the Mets pull the trigger on Castillo and then sign Hudson but that will not happen this year. I think Castillo will not revert back to 2008 but I also think that hitting .300 will not happen again. I would be ok with that if it wasn’t for the fear I have that his defense is going to hurt the Mets more than his skills at the plate. Only time will tell, hopefully I’ll be proved wrong.