Enough of This Orlando Hudson Benching Garbage
There have been two popular questions amongst Dodger fans lately. The first is when are they going to finally clinch the division? The second is where the heck has Orlando Hudson been lately? The O-Dog finally made his way into the lineup on Wednesday night after not playing in nearly a week. The only reason he got his named scratched onto Joe Torre’s card is because Casey Blake was resting, meaning Hudson’s usual fill-in, Ronnie Belliard, was playing the hot corner. Joe Torre recently explained Hudson’s absence as an opportunity to keep going with Belliard who had been hot and give Hudson some rest. Torre confirmed that sentiment on Wednesday prior to playing Hudson in the game. That’s what he might be saying, but we all know the real reason Hudson hasn’t been playing — the check book of Frank McCourt.
Orlando Hudson signed an incentive-laden deal with the Dodgers prior to the season. He had a 3.38 million base salary with the potential to hit over $4 million more based on how much he played. This was critical because Hudson was coming off a big surgery on his hand and nobody was sure how much (and how well) he’d be able to play. Hitting those bonuses would be just that for both parties — a bonus they’d be happy to see him reach. Apparently that’s not the case for Dodger owner Frank McCourt who has had to pay over $4 million in bonuses to the O-Dog. Now that Hudson’s cracked 575 plate appearances for the year (all the while helping the Dodgers become the best team in the NL), he hit a clause in his contract that stipulates he’ll earn $10,000 for every single plate appearance he makes. What does that mean? Benching Hudson saves McCourt $40k a game.
Even if Hudson isn’t swinging it too well there isn’t a person in baseball who would agree that Ronnie Belliard is a better player, especially considering how strong of a glove Hudson is at second. If it’s just about giving the guy rest, how come Kemp, Manny, Ethier, or Martin aren’t sitting more often in favor of the more-than-capable Juan Pierre or Brad Ausmus? The answer is pretty simple — those guys aren’t making $10k per plate appearance the way Hudson is. Torre’s actually the poor messenger here trying to carry out the bosses orders with the best possible responses. No other logic explains why you would consistently bench a gold-glover when you’re trying to clinch a playoff spot. And if he’s not swinging it well, isn’t the idea to have him hit his way out of the slump now before the playoffs start? I guess not, why would winning matter when precious dollars are at stake? Get the O-Dog back in there, this is a sorry excuse.