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the_o-dog_in_atlanta | January | 2009 Articles

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The O-Dog in Atlanta?

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It hasn't been a very good off-season for Orlando Hudson. The free agent second baseman missed the end of the '08 season after a collision with Brian McCann, which resulted in a dislocated left wrist, (and two surgeries to fix a fracture and ligament damage) and he's received far less interest than one would expect for a three-time Gold Glover coming off three straight seasons with an OPS over .800. That lack of interest has driven down the price enough that the Braves are now showing interest, according to Dave O'Brien.

The plan with Hudson would presumably be the same as with Brian Roberts and Rafael Furcal. Acquire someone to man second and move Kelly Johnson back to left field. This interest (if it is serious) may be a signal that the Braves are unwilling to sacrifice outfield defense by signing either Adam Dunn or Bobby Abreu, but O'Brien also mentions that the Braves may not be all that happy about the prospect of moving Johnson back to the outfield.

This makes some sense to me with the recent pitching additions. Bobby Cox's rotation heading into 2009 is one based upon pitching to contact with guys like Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, and Kenshin Kawakami. Adding a top tier defender like Hudson at second would round out one of the strongest defensive infields in baseball. On the other hand, this really doesn't solve Atlanta's need for a right-handed bat, despite Hudson's switch-hitting. The 31-year old is a significantly better hitter from the left side of the plate and is below average batting right-handed.

This is a case of Frank Wren keeping his options open. If the price to land Hudson keeps dropping, there's a chance he could be brought in, but it doesn't seem likely. An outfielder still seems more likely to be the last piece of the puzzle and there should be better bargains there as we get closer to spring training.
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