Many believe that Orlando Hudson signing with the Nationals is a foregone conclusion, and perhaps it is.
Hudson's got a great reputation inside the game, and adding him to the top of the Nationals' lineup behind Nyjer Morgan seems like a great idea.
However, there are some in the game who feel that Hudson's year with the Dodgers - while solid statistically from all indications - is not beyond criticism. I spoke at length today with a prominent National League pro scout who knows Hudson quite well.
"Don't get me wrong, he's a good player," he said, "but I know the Dodgers were bothered by his constant fraternization with players on other teams. Joe Torre is kind of old school in that regard, and Hudson was always hanging out with opposing players before games."
But couldn't something like that be overlooked if the player puts up the numbers?
"Maybe, but Hudson's offense really slipped in the second half," he continued. "No one expected he'd hit .330 all season [Hudson batted about .332 in April and May], but his average dropped about 30 points the second half of the season."
Doing some basic math, from April through June Hudson hit .297; from July through the end of the season he hit .270.
A number of Nationals' players have expressed great affection for Hudson, and reports indicate the Nats are at the top of his preferred list. Money is obviously an object, and he's priced himself well above the other middle infielders who've signed free agent deals this winter.
With Orlando Cabrera off the market, the only other genuine option still unsigned would appear to be Adam Kennedy, a 34-year-old 11-year veteran. Kennedy played mostly at third last year for Oakland, but the former ALCS MVP (2002) has logged more than 10,000 innings at second in a career that has seen him play every position but pitcher and catcher.
The Hudson Watch continues.