Earlier this week I wondered why the Twins weren’t making a stronger push for Orlando Hudson, so it pleases me to see this report from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi at FOXSports.com:
The Twins have intensified their pursuit of free-agent second baseman Orlando Hudson, one major league source told FOXSports.com on Thursday morning. … Hudson is asking for at least $6 million on a one-year deal, a separate source said. He is likely to agree to terms on a new contract this week.
Based on various reports recently it sounds like the Nationals are offering Hudson the most money, but he’d prefer to play for a better team if the salaries are somewhat close.
If all it takes to land Hudson is a one-year deal worth around $5 million the decision should be a no-brainer for the Twins, because right now they have Nick Punto starting at second base, Brendan Harris starting at third base, and no clear option to bat second in the lineup ahead of Joe Mauer. At that price and this late in the offseason Hudson is as close to a perfect fit as Minnesota is going to find.
UPDATE: MLB.com’s Bill Ladson just tweeted that “a baseball source” told him Hudson “will not play for the Nationals” and “most likely will play for the Twins.”
UPDATE #2: Not so fast, perhaps. Now both Buster Olney of ESPN.com and Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune report that Hudson is deciding between the Twins and … Indians. Everyone seems to agree that the Nationals are out of the mix.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.