19 May 2012
Hudson has won four gold gloves in his career -- he's played nothing but second base -- but advanced fielding metrics indicate that he's no longer the plus fielder that he once was. Not that he's close to being a butcher at second base, but his defense is probably only average (plus or minus a couple of runs) at this point. Almost certainly better Ryan Raburn with the glove (although he hasn't been the nightmare I expected), but not an upgrade over Ramon Santiago or Danny Worth.
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Things have begun to fade for Huson, now 34, at the plate as well. His career OPS is a quality .757, but he's been below that mark since 2009, and has only managed .657 OPS between this season and last. Santiago's OPS over these last two seasons is .656, so his recent stats don't indicate that he even offers an offensive upgrate to what the Tigers already have.
But unlike Santiago or Worth, Hudson has a history of quality hitting, so it's not impossible that he could recover some of that with a change of scenery. But if the strategy is to pick a struggling player and hope he revives his former hitting abilities, then it would probably be more prudent to stick with Rabrun, a younger player, who has eclipsed the .720 OPS mark as recently as last season, and the .800 OPS mark the season before that.
But I'm not totally against an Orlando Hudson experiment. Raburn could easily move out to right field, where he would represent a defensive upgrade over Brennan Boesch, who could push Delmon Young out of the designated hitter position. I'm sure Delmon wouldn't be happy with the benching, but his OPS is only .710 and his OBP is uder .300 since joining the Tigers last season.
So perhaps the Tigers do decide to pick Hudson up and try him out, but the odds are that the addition wouldn't make a huge impact on the success of the season.
Matt Snyder is the editor of The Tigers Den. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.