Note: I'll get to the Joe Crede signing tomorrow. For today, I need to vent...
Earlier this offseason, I was rather annoyed when a player I coveted was acquired by a team other than the Twins for a far lower price than I'd anticipated he'd go for. In that case, it was Mark DeRosa, who the Cubs traded to the Indians for the modest price of three marginal pitching prospects not long after I wrote a post singing his praises and explaining why he'd be a great fit for the Twins. Now, it's happened again. Just one day after I posted an article explaining why signing Orlando Hudson -- if the price was right -- would make all the sense in the world for the Twins, the Dodgers nabbed Hudson with a one-year deal that guarantees only $3.4 million.
Hudson is a high-caliber player with three Gold Gloves on his shelf and an impressive career hitting line. While there is some concern that he'll begin to decline soon (though he certainly hasn't yet) and some have noted that he's somewhat injury-prone (though certainly not to Joe Crede's extent), this was a one-year deal carrying a commitment of less than $4 million. That's less than Nick Punto will make this year or next, and less than a million more than Crede is guaranteed to make.
Now, I realize that signing Hudson would have cost the Twins a first-round draft pick in June, and I'm sensitive to that fact. But this organization is currently deep on talent in the low minors -- six of the players on my Top Ten Prospects list in January were in Single-A or lower last season, and not one of the top five players on Aaron Gleeman's recently concluded top prospects list has faced Double-A competition yet. Losing a first-rounder would not have been ideal, but it's something that the Twins could have absorbed, particularly considering that they'll receive an extra second round pick in the draft once Dennys Reyes signs.
Now, one can't say with any certainty that the Twins could have acquired DeRosa or Hudson at the same price they eventually went for. Perhaps the Cubs were more willing to deal with the Indians than the Twins, and perhaps Hudson preferred to stay on the West Coast. But what irks me is that the Twins did not seem to pursue either of these players with any seriousness. DeRosa seemed like an afterthought when he was clearly available back in December, and I don't recall once seeing or hearing Hudson's name mentioned by anyone other than speculating bloggers such as myself.
The Twins came within an inch of the playoffs last year and are comfortable with what they've got -- I understand that. But this offseason has presented some terrific opportunities to acquire quality players at positions of need for pennies on the dollar, and the Twins have missed the boat on multiple occasions now. The Twins finally made a move to take advantage of this down marketplace by signing Crede, but better moves were available. Sometimes clinging to the status quo makes sense. Sometimes it does not.