Twins 'have intensified their pursuit of' Hudson

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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.

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.