Why the Mets Should Sign Orlando Hudson

Back in November, word on the street was that Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson was looking for a 5-year, $50M contract.

Had the Mets not been saddled with the three years and $18M remaining on Luis Castillo’s contract, they surely would have at least entered the bidding on Hudson — and might have signed him quickly, as they did with Francisco Rodriguez. Certainly, it helped that Hudson had made public statements that he wanted to play in New York, and would “love” to play with Jose Reyes.

My, how times have changed.

The price for Hudson has now dropped to under $5M and only one year. What hasn’t changed is the Mets are still stuck with Castillo. However, consider this: Signing Orlando Hudson right now for one year at $5M puts the Mets at $23M over the next two years for their second baseman/men. That’s less than half of what Hudson was demanding in dollars, and is a three-year commitment as opposed to a five-year one. And instead of getting just one player for the position, the Mets get two.

Granted, for the last two years of the deal the Mets have only Castillo and not Hudson. But, there’s a chance that Castillo can prove himself healthy, and become trade bait. Before, it was too much for the Mets to swallow to have two second basemen with multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts. Now, however, the idea of having Castillo and Hudson on the roster at the same time is not only palatable, it makes perfect sense.

Sure, signing Orlando Hudson to a one-year, $5M contract means that the Mets have a very, very expensive backup second baseman in Luis Castillo. But when you look at the second base position as a budget unto itself, spending a total of $11M for one year to have Hudson and Castillo man the position … well, what are the Mets waiting for?

Now, if the Mets insist they don’t have another $5M to dish out for Orlando Hudson (but have more than twice that amount for an assortment of AAAA fodder), we may as well all pack it in.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. upson February 18, 2009 at 9:10 pm
    OK, Joe, I can see that you’re not buying the “new and improved Castillo” reports coming from PSL. Still, I have to disagree that the solution is to bring Hudson and keep both Castillo and Hudson around. The thing is that Castillo’s value cannot be lower than it currently is and sitting him on the bench will not change this. The Mets are obviously unwilling to flush the remaining $18M down the toilet, and the only chance to get something back from Castillo is to let him play regularly… by playing Castillo, the Mets have a (realistic) chance to accomplish the following two goals: (1) get a serviceable 2nd baseman in 2009, and (2) salvage at least 5 million out of remaining 12 in the next off-season. Alternatively, the solution to sign Hudson and keep Castillo is 10 million more expensive and would likely create a problem in the clubhouse. [Bringing Abreu at $5M, on the other hand, would make more sense to me. That ship has sailed though.]
  2. isuzudude February 19, 2009 at 9:18 am
    This is a very touchy subject. Obviously, the Mets would seem to be a better team if Hudson were the everyday 2B rather than Castillo. And way back in November when free agency started I was entrenched on the bandwagon calling for the Mets to do everything in their power to sign Hudson. However, this transaction was pretty much contingent on the Mets also ridding themselves of Luis Castillo – moreover, his contract. Yet looking back on how relatively cheap the Mets have been this winter (shortchanging Krod and Ollie, settling for the Tatis/Murphy platoon in LF, settling for a mix of journeymen for the #5 starter spot) I can’t help but feel the Mets are in the best financial position possible to house both a Hudson 1 year, $6-mil contract (approx.) and Castillo’s 3 remaining years at $18-mil. However, just because the Mets CAN doesn’t mean they SHOULD. I agree with Upson that relegating Castillo to a bench position will only further decrease his value and make it even harder to trade him, if that’s even possible. No one in their right mind would want to give something up for an old and fragile player making well over market value who can’t handle a starter’s role any longer. And if the Mets only give Castillo 200 or so at bats in 2009 with Hudson getting the bulk of the playing time, he wouldn’t get enough reps to show the rest of the baseball world that he can once again produce at a satisfactory level. Let’s not forget, either, that Alex Cora was inexplicably given a bloated $2-mil contract to back up 2B for Castillo, and he would no longer have a role if Hudson were signed. Wright and Reyes never get time off nor never need a defensive replacement, so Cora pretty much gets a cool 2 mil for sitting around waiting for someone to get hurt. Right now, the best the Mets can hope for (because they painted themselves into this corner) is that Castillo stays healthy for at least 450 at bats this season, hits at least .280, and gets on base enough to score at least 80 runs. That might just be enough to get another team interested in Castillo again, as long as the Mets don’t ask for much in return and are willing to eat some of Castillo’s remaining contract. Then, as it looks like Hudson might only get a one year deal, Omar can go after Hudson next winter and not have to worry about having two starting 2B on the roster. Like it or not, we are stuck with Castillo as the 2009 everyday 2B and Alex Cora as his backup. Just another log on the “Omar must go” fire if 2009 turns out to be a disaster.
  3. Walnutz15 February 20, 2009 at 7:56 am
    “Hey everybody, LOOK AT ME!! — I’m the new Ocho Cinco!!”



  4. sincekindergarten February 21, 2009 at 5:28 am
    It’s academic at this point, as Hudson signed with the Dodgers.