As mentioned yesterday, the White Sox have agreed to terms with Orlando Hudson. It will be a league minimum contract. My first reaction, as presumably was the reaction of many Sox fans, was that this was a move related to the murmurs of Brent Morel possibly seeing some time on the disabled list, leaving both a roster spot and a hole at third base (defensive in addition to the current offensive hole). A couple problems with that; first, Morel is not yet on the DL and it’s unclear at this moment whether or not he will be. Second, Orlando Hudson is not a third baseman.
Scott Merkin reports that Hudson is likely to serve as a backup infielder, which I take to mean he is Gordo insurance. Though Hudson may start off in Charlotte to get a few at-bats, it’s unlikely Kenny Williams signed him to hang out on the AAA squad. Is KW ready to send Beckham down to the farm for a little while? Also unlikely. Very soon there will be a demotion for either Eduardo Escobar or Brent Lillibridge, both of whom are failing to hit their weight.
Yeah but still: what about third? It would be unwise at this juncture, after Gordon Beckham is starting to hint with his bat that he’s thinking about possibly maybe getting it going (he is at least hitting his weight, which seems an accomplishment on this infield), to give him something else to think about by moving him back to third, where he played the majority of the season as a rookie in 2009. Two things that Williams does with consistency are continue to pursue players he has held interest in at any point, regardless of how much time and talent has passed (see you next season, Chone Figgins), and he always has something else up his sleeve. He loves to keep people guessing and then pull something out to show them they’ve been guessing wrong all along. Perhaps Kenny sees the Hudson signing as part one, freeing up any number of Sox infielders to be used in a trade package. Do other MLB hitting coaches think they can fix Gordon Beckham’s hitting issues? Are teams looking for a young infielder that’s gotten in some MLB reps? Eduardo Escobar is only 23 years old and will likely get himself to a point where he is an everyday player. That makes him a trade chip.
We’ve talked about the Youkilis possibility, so that’s there. The White Sox have completed deals with the Padres recently. Hey, before we picked up Orlando Hudson they picked up Eric Stults. That’s almost like a trade! Chase Headley is a more than competent third baseman who has been seeing his salary escalate each year. Maybe Josh Byrnes could be talked into letting him go. After all, they’re not going to be catching Los Angeles this year.
It’s probably too soon for anybody else with a quality third baseman to be in a position to deal, but if any GMs are thinking about it, Chicago’s GM is talking to them about it.