Should the Rockies go after Orlando Hudson?

Orlando Hudson may be a great addition to the Rockies clubhouse.

Orlando Hudson may be a great addition to the Rockies clubhouse.

The Rockies offseason has been incredibly quiet.  Besides the signing of Miguel Olivo and the departure of Yorvit Torrealba, little will be different for the 2010 Rockies.  While the Rockies were the best team in the National League after Jim Tracy took over on May 29th, some fans believe that the team should not rest on its laurels and should go after some free agents.

One area for improvement could be on the offensive side at second base.  No one argues that incumbent Clint Barmes is a great defender.  With him and Troy Tulowitzki up the middle it doesn’t get much better.  However, Barmes’ approach at the plate leaves a feeling of something lacking.  Despite a power surge in which he hit 24 home runs, Barmes’ on-base percentage was under .300.  That is an unacceptable number for an every day starter.

One option that the Rockies have been linked to is free agent Orlando Hudson.  Hudson is also a slick-fielding second baseman, but he brings a spark at the plate.  Although age is taking a toll on the switch-hitter, Hudson hit .283 with a .357 on base percentage.

Acquiring Hudson may not be as difficult as most would think.  The four time gold glove winner was not offered arbitration by the Dodgers, and many teams looking for a second baseman have filled their needs elsewhere, meaning Hudson could come cheap on a one-year deal.

The front office has downplayed any efforts to talk with Hudson, making it clear that they want to fill their need for a power-hitting right hander who can come off the bench and play both third base and first base.

Hudson would not fit that role, but with Brad Hawpe getting time at first base and Barmes relegated to bench duty, the Rockies could easily slide Barmes into third base and play Hawpe at first base when needed.

If Hudson can be had for cheap, he may be worth taking a chance on.

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Tags: Brad Hawpe Clint Barmes Colorado Rockies Orlando Hudson Troy Tulowitzki

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  • Robb Ruyle

    Agree that Hudson would be an upgrade offensively. Love Barmes’s defense, but he’s gotta change his plate approach if he wants to be the guy at second.

    Now, I’m no hitting coach. Just a 66-year-old longtime fan who was an amateur umpire (college, JC, high school, etc.) for 30 years. And I know that watching the location of thousands of pitches every year for thirty years made me a better umpire. Repetition improves performance.

    So here’s what I’d try with Clint Barmes, to help him to visualize the low outside corner pitch that he keeps lunging after.

    I’d have some batting practice pitchers who can throw in the low to mid 80’s with excellent location throw literally hundreds of pitches to Clint, right on and right off the corner. First, fastballs only, then mixing in whatever breaking balls the pitchers can throw.

    He’d be forbidden to swing. He’d have to call each pitch a ball or a strike. Either the catcher or a coach or umpire would also call the pitch, announcing it after Barmes had made his call.

    I’d do this for a couple thousand pitches over a couple of weeks time. After Clint demonstrated the ability to call balls and strikes with pretty good accuracy, I’d let him swing, while still having the catcher, coach, or umpire calling each pitch after the swing. If he kept swinging at pitches off the plate, it would be back to step one.

    I’d monitor performance during the season, and repeat this sequence as necessary if he began to lunge, or to swing at balls.

    Whaddya think?

  • David Martin

    Interesting idea. As a former umpire myself (only 7 years of experience here, not 30) I would agree that pitch recognition comes with not only time, but with discipline. If you allow yourself to see the pitch before reacting to it, you will make a much better decision.
    I don’t think that Clint Barmes falls into the category of a “arrogant, selfish professional athlete,” but I wonder what reaction a player would have to this. In high school or college it would work, but a Major League Baseball player may have a difficult time accepting that exercise as anything less than a punishment. It would help, I just don’t see it happening.

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  • i am whaleman

    Oh, right…no arbitration for the Dog. Well, that was an oversight on my part. I didn’t realize the Dodgers were that stupid. Who’s running things over there, Dan O’Dowd?