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Cage Match: Joe Torre vs. Orlando Hudson

Cage Match: Joe Torre vs. Orlando Hudson

The benching of Orlando Hudson at the end of the season is something that has been talked about by Dodger fans, at the time and up to now.  For the record, I stated that Hudson should have been the starter in the playoffs.  However, I am going to remind everyone that Joe Torre was closer to the situation that any of us and any reporter.  Let’s consider a few quotes from the parties:

On September 19, 2009, Joe Torre stated this about Orlando Hudson and Ronnie Belliard:

 ”…over the course of the season it’s probably taken a little bit of a toll on him, I think there’s some fatigue now. I’m taking advantage right now with Ronnie swinging the bat the way he is to use him, and then decide what choices we’re going to have going forward,” 

On that same date, Orlando Hudson then stated:: 

“I haven’t been doing the job.  My man Belliard came in, they made a great trade to get him in here and he’s doing a great job at second base.  All I can do is cheer for him.”

On November 12, 2009, after the season was over, Orlando Hudson said the following: 

“My teammates talked to me about it more than Joe did, but I never had any answers because Torre and I never talked, there was no conversation.”

Now, that one sentence is a little contradictory, in that he said his “teammates to talked to me about it more than Joe did” implying that there was conversation, but very little.  He then concluded by saying that “Torre and I never talked … there was no conversation.”

A lot has been made about this one sentence, but no one has asked O-Dog “Did Torre EVER talk to you about the benching?”  It’s common knowledge that Joe Torre is a “players manager,” especially a veteran player.  It seems highly unlikely that Torre NEVER talked with O-Dog.  It seems more likely that there was not much conversation.  It also seems likely to me that Hudson was concealing an injury.  Maybe Torre knew about it, maybe he didn’t.  Hudson certainly has a history of late season injuries.  Maybe Orlando was protecting his impending Free Agency.  Maybe Joe was too…

The fact of the matter is, that from where I sit, I still would have started Orlando Hudson!

  • In case you haven’t seen it yet, Jose Offerman punched an umpire in the Dominican last night.

For those of you who believe the Giants will be better, consider what Bruce Jenkins of the SF Chronicle wrote:

Pablo Sandoval‘s weight is going to be an issue for the rest of his life (he lost 10 pounds through a rigorous conditioning program in Arizona, then gained most of it back when he returned home to play in the Venezuelan winter league). Many scouts around the National League can’t figure out why the Giants simply don’t stick him at first base and leave him there.

The Giants obviously don’t see it that way. They made a two-year offer to Adam LaRoche, who wisely turned it down (no left-handed pull hitter feels an attraction to AT&T Park unless he has Prince Fielder-like power). Then they signed Aubrey Huff, a terrible defensive player at any position. Understand the larger point: The Giants have filled some embarrassing holes with professional hitters, and Huff easily could revert to his 100-RBI form. But in this park, with that pitching staff, defense has to be a priority – and it could be a problem all season.

With Sandoval at third and Edgar Renteria at shortstop, the left side of the infield has a glaring lack of range. Freddy Sanchez is a competent second baseman, but is also 32 years old and coming off knee surgery.

Mark DeRosa, an infielder by trade, should be an ordinary left fielder at best. Aaron Rowand is a noted fly-chaser but has become known for fundamental mistakes in his time with the Giants. Nate Schierholtz is a strong-armed right fielder, but isn’t likely to measure up to Randy Winn defensively.

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

42 Responses to “Cage Match: Joe Torre vs. Orlando Hudson”

  1. Rory says:

    I got shut out on the other thread – again. Seems to happen to me every morning.

    OK, so I start all over again.

    Mark you ended yesterday saying “maybe he was hurt”. Maybe? And now you start this morning with a quote from September 19th? Look, we all know Hudson had a tough September though he did play with a .357 OBP. Not bad for a guy in a slump. And clearly Belliard was hitting. We get that. But it was a long time between September 19th and the play-offs in October. Why is it “likely” Hudson was concealing an injury? He hit a home run in the play-offs. Knowing what I know about hitting, it would be hard to do that if your wrist was still hurting. Hudson wanted to play for his team in the post-season. He earned the right to do that and he was benched. Then he was not offered arbitration and he walks without the team getting compensation. And some people don’t think all of that is weird?

    Yesterday Roger clearly articulated what many fans are thinking – we had an All Star Gold Glove player sitting on the bench while we got our asses handed to us in the play-offs. He says he was ready, he hit a dinger proving he was, how are we supposed to buy this “injury” b.s.? And we get nothing when he leaves when MLB cleary set up compensation for such events. It just doesn’t add up Mark.

    I was working on a piece about the Giants and Dbacks but I won’t post it now. I’ll just say this, I think both the Giants and Dbacks will be a few games better than they were last year. The both have good pitching and have added bats. I don’t buy that article above by Jenkins. He sounds like the Simers of the Bay Area. Sandoval can flat out rake, Rowand should return to form, they have added some professional hitters and we all know how good their pitching is. It looks like Webb and CoJack are back for the Dbacks and Edwin Jackson will make their staff better. They have some scrappy baseball players on that squad including one Tony Abreu who is very much looking forward to getting his chance.

    Make no mistake about it people, the NL West is very aware of the Dodgers situation and they are gearing up make their runs. It is going to be a very competitive division next year with 4 teams capable of winning over 80 games and all of them believe they can dethrone the depleted Dodgers. It should be very interesting.

  2. Roger Dodger says:

    I agree Rory. And remember, the Dodgers vs. the Rockies 18 games (?) will not have the same outcome as it did last year. That is a gain for the Rockies.

    What I am counting on, is that the Dodgers will be better in the field and at the plate for the season. A strong lineup in many ways.

    What bothers me and almost all Dodger fans is not matching up against other teams in starting pitching.

    The pen will be solid, but the amount of innings that the pen will be called upon to contribute — will be many. Maybe tooooo many. Look for pitchers going down and up from the farm teams.

    Hudson: “My teammates talked to me about it more than Joe did, but I never had any answers because Torre and I never talked, there was no conversation.”

    Mark, that really says a lot to me. “…never had any answers . . Torre and I never talked, there was no conversation.”

    Kind of reminds me of the famous quote from Cool Hand Luke.

    I agree, this is not a sentence on Joe and his being a manager — just mistake. And, at the wrong time.

    Now, if a new story comes out and Hudson says, “I should also mention that I did not answer my phone for three weeks, and never walked by Joe’s office and stayed away from him on the bench, and did not show up for twelve called meetings with Joe.” That will paint a different picture.

  3. Blue Haze says:

    Never liked the whole thing with Hudson. I thought and stated the Hudson was the MVP of the team for the first half of the season, both offensively and defensively. I also think he was struggling when he was benched, probably due to some naggling injuries from playing basically every inning to that point. However, the benching did allow him to get healed up and was probably totally ready to play and kick ass in the playoffs. So I hear both Anew and Badger on this. Wouldn’t you love to have Hudson as our second baseman going into this ST? Instead we better hope DeWitt is up to the task, personally I believe he isn’t even close to type of player that Hudson is.

  4. Rory says:

    “Wouldn’t you love to have Hudson as our second baseman going into this ST?”

    Absolutely. And if we can’t because he turned down our arbitration offer, then I will take the compensation pick in the upcoming draft.

    The whole thing just smells like a fish to me.

    And I agree with you about DeWitt. He is no where close to the player Hudson is. If he had torn it up at AAA when given the opportunity to, I would be more confident in his abilities. But, he did not. He had 352 ab’s there with a .256 avg. and .775 OPS. That wouldn’t be good at the big league level, and he did that in the minors? He has a long way to go and a short time to get there.

    So we have ? at 2b and the starting rotation. And frankly, I am not so sure that Blake will be any better than he was at the end of last season. I hope I am wrong about that, but he has some miles on him.

  5. Roger Dodger says:

    Well this is interesting news:

    “Jon Garland could be a fit for the Giants, who are still looking to add a starter, although we heard otherwise on Friday this week. Recently we heard that the Dodgers contacted his agent, though they still appear to be hamstrung by their financial situation.”

    On the Hudson Affair.

    There is always the possibility that Joe and Hudson DID TALK. And it was a nasty conversation. Hudson, “Joe, I am ready for the post season.” Joe, “Grab some wood, I’m going with the hot hand, I think you are history here. Thanks for your play this season, but Belly is my man.”

    And they agreed to put a lid on there conversation and use the cover story.

  6. Bill Russell says:

    If Joe was trying to cover up an injury for the sake of Hudson’s future, then Hudson’s remarks won’t have been bitter towards Joe’s no comunication with him. Unless they have become Hollywood actors and I don’t give either one of them that much credit. Joe was either trying to go with the hot hand with Belliard or trying to save McCord money. There’s no other reason PERIOD.

    Again, I am concerned that all other teams in the West are improving and the Dodgers are losing ground. Yes we have been better in recent years under McCords tenure as the Dodgers owner but I’m not so sure it is McCords doing as much as it has been the farms timing of good crops. Now with that being said, We need to find a way to keep the young harvast and add the missing pieces. That’s where a new owner needs to come into play before we lose the young players and fall into the Oakland A’s of LA mode. Go Vikings and Chargers

  7. Mark Timmons says:

    Billy,

    Two Questions:

    1. What did Hudson say that was bitter?
    2. How was Joe trying to save Frank money?

  8. Blue Haze says:

    I don’t thik joe was cover-up for Hudson at all, I think Hudson had some injuries that were nagging him, so Joe went with Belliard. Hudson got some rest and his health returned but not his starting job.

  9. Roger Dodger says:

    Okay, look at the quote again:

    “My teammates talked to me about it more than Joe did, but I never had any answers because Torre and I never talked, there was no conversation.”

    Key words:

    My teammates talked to me about IT MORE than Joe did . . .

    I never had any ANSWERS . . .

    Torre and I never TALKED . . .

    There was NO conversation . . .

    It does not take a rocket scientist to see — there are questions there and some, maybe in much, pain.

  10. Rory says:

    What Haze said.

    It’s strange to me that Hudson hasn’t said much on this subject. He is a guy that usually doesn’t shut up.

    I think somebody peed in the soup and nobody is talking.

  11. lawdog says:

    “My teammates talked to me about it more than Joe did, but I never had any answers because Torre and I never talked, there was no conversation.”

    There is no inherent contradiction in O-Rod’s statement above. If Torre NEVER spoke to him about it while some of his team mates did, then the ones who spoke with him about it did so more than Joe did. Right?

    The so called conflict is all in your mind if you think one is there.

    And it’s obvious that Joe kept O-Rod out of the line up after he was healed, if he needed healing at all. I personally think he was fatigued but should of started in the playoffs. Belliard’s bat was more sorely needed to replace Geezer Blake who stopped hitting with 6 weeks to go as the season was winding down as Rory has pointed out more than once..

    Don’t forget, when O-Rod finally got a chance to hit (as a pinch hitter in garbage time) he smashed a line drive home run deep into the lower deck in left field.

    Sound like a man who was hurt and needed to keep his lame butt on the bench? I didn’t think so. :shock:

    Torre :shock: ‘ed O-Rod. Tis true, tis pity. And pity tis, tis true!!! :(

  12. Bill Russell says:

    1. That there was no Dialogue between Torre and Hudson about his benching. That seemed bitter to me.

    2. $10,000 dollars in your words. I would have to research the situation in order to verify your findings of this amount. I only know what I was hearing about the incentive laden contract and the reporters speculating about the reasons for him not in the lineup. I don’t know if the contract had any incentives for playoff at bats or not. As several people has pointed out, He didn’t seem injuried to me. If he was injuried, why was he on the playoff roster?

    Mark
    Where can we verify your findings of $10,000 only? Go Chargers

  13. Mark Timmons says:

    Billy,

    They paid him nearly $4 mil in incentives and then wanted to beat him out of $10,000? That makes no sense…

    Lawdog,

    Injured players can hit home runs (i.e. Kirk Gibson).

    Roger and Rory are close to what the truth probably is…

  14. Mark Timmons says:

    Here’s the breakdown of O-Dog’s contract from Tony Jackson:

    “OK, I’m giving you fair warning that this is going to give you a headache. I can’t imagine what the conversation must have been like when Colletti and Ng were working these details out with O-Dawg’s agent. But here it is:

    $380,000 signing bonus, deferred without interest to a time not designated
    $3 million base salary for 2009
    $150,000 each for 150 and 175 plate appearances
    $200,000 each for 200, 225, 250, 275 and 300 plate appearances
    $250,000 each for 325, 350, 375, 400, 425, 450, 475, 500, 525, 550, 575 PAs
    and then, there is this:
    $10,000 for EVERY plate appearance from PA #576 through PA #632. That’s 57 PAs for total of $570,000.
    also, BEGINNING WITH 550 PAs, every one of these incentives, including that $570k, is deferred without interest to a time not designated. And the contract requires O-Dawg to donate $25,000 to the Dodgers Dream Foundation, something I’m sure he has no problem with because he is heavily involved in charity work to begin with, with a focus on the battle against autism.

    Have you hit the Advil yet?”

    O-Dog ended up with 631 plate appearneces.

    Do the math.

    If the Dodgers wanted to screw him they could have cut him off at 500 PA’s and saved over $1.5 mil.

    Your argument is not only weak – it isn’t true.

    … and that helps form “your worldview of McCourt.”

    Re-think!

  15. Bill Russell says:

    Mark, where are you getting your figure of $10,000 was the only amount saved? That’s all I’m asking. I have only read that amount in here. Has this been published somewhere else? If you are correct with this figure then that’s not the reason. I agree.

  16. Mark Timmons says:

    Billy, see above.

    O-Dog’s incentives ended at 632 plate appearences. He got 631 and that saved the Dodgers $10,000.00.

  17. Bill Russell says:

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?playerId=5029
    ESPN shows O-Dogs at bats at 551.
    There seems to be some descrepancy in the amount of at bats if you are stating 632.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hudsoor01.shtml
    This is from another site.

  18. Bill Russell says:

    Do you count preseason Mark? I think they would count postseason but did he get 81 at bats in the postseason?

  19. Bill Russell says:

    Unless my math is wrong, the Dodgers saved $810,000 by benching O-Dog. But as Ken has pointed out in the past, I misread stuff.

  20. Bill Russell says:

    551 +4 postseason = 555
    632 – 555 = 77
    77 x $10,000 = $770,000 savings

    Cot’s Baseball shows O-Dogs total earnings as $3,380,000 for 2009
    I always thought his total contract was for over $4 million if he hit all his incentives. Something just doesn’t make sense to me Mark.

  21. Mark Timmons says:

    PLATE APPEARANCES

    NOT

    AT- BATS.

    Here’s the STAT Page. Scroll down and look up TPA (Total Plate Appearances):

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/players/stats?playerId=5029

  22. Mark Timmons says:

    The post season doesn’t count for any incentives.

  23. Mark Timmons says:

    Click on the stats in baseball reference and you will see that the PA’s are 631.

  24. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Orlando Hudson:

    551 ABs
    661 PAs

    Here’s the link to Baseball-Reference.com

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hudsoor01.shtml

  25. Mark Timmons says:

    Now the Colts play the team that they laid down for, who should have never been in the playoffs to being with.

  26. Mark Timmons says:

    How crazy is that?

    The team who shouldn’t have been in the playoffs plays the team who tanked a game to let them in.

    Brooklyn meant to say 631.

  27. lawdog says:

    Gibson looked like he was hurt when he came up in the series back in 88. In fact, his swings looked sick in that AB until the idiots decided to throw him the only pitch he could have turned on–a back door slider that got so much of the plate it had “hit me” written all over it. I’m not trying to take anything away from Captain Kirk, That was one of the finest moments for any Dodger and all Dodger fans. My living room back in California is probably still ringing from the echo of the cheers that almost blew the roof off that night.

    But O-Rod muscled a heater just off the plate (outside) and low. He turned on that sucker and drilled it deep into the stands in left center on a line you could have hung clothes on. No man with an injured wrist would have hit that basll, that hard into that location. O-Rod wasn’t injured. If he wasn’t sat down to save money, then it was because Torre wrongfully thought Belliard and Blake were both better options.

    To this day I can’t figure out why Joe did that to O-Rod. Maybe O-Rod didn’t invite him to a big poker game at his home or something… It really makes no sense. Of course, Torre is getting up there in age and it all could have been due to dementia. A big brain fart on the part of Torre. Maybe he mistook )-Rod for Berroa? Why else would Torre want to :shock: O-Rod like that?

  28. lawdog says:

    The Dogs are said to be looking at possibly signing both Padilla and Ben Sheets. If they actually sign those two I’ll buy a Perfectly Frank T-Shirt and be a rabid fan once again. All will be forgiven.

    But Perfectly will stir the pot a little, talk about how they’d be a good fit for our starting rotation and then passssssssssssss……

    I’m not likely to renew my MLB Extra Innings package this year. I mean, who reeally wants to pay almost $200 to watch a .500 ball club struggle to possibly win a few in a row in the 11th hour to possibly compete for a wildcard and then get eliminated in the first round of teh playoffs.

    Sign Sheets and Padilla and I’ll be a believer once again. Despite the geezer on third and the hole at second.

  29. Mark Timmons says:

    Well, there you go, Lawdog. I have said that I thought Torre should have started Hudson, but he didn’t.

    Either he has a wierd way of thinking, O-Dog did something bad or he was hurt. One of those 3. I just can’t imagine him doing something that would hurt the team.

  30. Bill Russell says:

    Or he was playing the hot hand of Belliard.

  31. Mark Timmons says:

    There you go. Maybe it was subjective.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

  32. lawdog says:

    I don’t thin\k Torre would intentional hurt the team either and if I implied otherwise, I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean to do that.

    But I think it’s clear O-Rod wasn’t hurt after he smashed the crap out of that well thrown fastball low and away in the playoffs. So it really is a mystery as to why he didn’t slide the “hot” Belliard over to replace the geezing Blake for a spell and put O-Rod back in the lineup. We might have gotten a different result in those games which were actually close if he had. I remember wondering aloud (to the amusement of Ruth) as to why he was absent from the line up as each game started. I suppose we’ll never know they whys or wherefores. Tis a mystery.

  33. Rory says:

    And why wasn’t Garland on the roster?

    I have said it before and I will say it again – Hudson plays second base for me, and Garland is the #3 and Blake rides the pines. Would that have made the difference? Probably not. The Phillies are just better than the Dodgers, but I think we have a much better chance with our best players out there.

    As for football……… Saints vs. Jets looks good to me.

  34. Roger Dodger says:

    What a way to run a ball club. What a way to have the fans pay their big bucks for tickets, food, parking, and Extra Innings. That is, counting up the plate appearances — and to save some of “our” money — sit a guy that might have made a difference for the “team.”

    Heck with giving the team the best chance — just go the way of . . .

    In the end – as a retired coach in softball being in major tournaments, I am still bothered by a manager that does not talk / communicate to a key player, or any player when there is a possible situation — where he should.

  35. Mark Timmons says:

    Torre has always been a “players manager” and guys like to play for him, so he must generally communicate. My point is: there s something we are not seeing or hearing about in this situation.

  36. Mark Timmons says:

    Let’s not forget one thing either: Belliard hit .351 with a .398 OB% and OPS’ed 1.054 for the Dodgers last year (all in September), in 77 AB.

    He also hit .300 in the playoffs with a .382 OB%. That’s pretty good. Would Hudson have done better?

  37. lawdog says:

    Hudsdon would have done better than “rally killer” Blake in the playoffs. Torre could have played Belliard and O-Rod. But he didn’t.

  38. mark says:

    Belliard is a horrible defensive 3B

  39. Rory says:

    I agree Mark. There is more to the story than what we know. Like I said, Hudson isn’t a guy that normally remains quiet, and on this subject he is. I realize Belliard was hot, that’s why I put him at third base in the play-offs. Seems like an easy call from my couch. I also start Garland. To get him for the run, and give a good player to do so, and then not put him on the roster? You see, it’s all these little things that add up to many of us scratching our heads and asking “what the heck is going on here?”.

    “transparently disengenuous” – great choice of words. Wish I would have thought of it.

    Padilla, Sheets and I also read we are still talking to Garland’s agent. Anybody want to give odds on landing any of these guys?

    “Belliard is a horrible 3rd baseman” – but what, he is great second baseman? I don’t care about his defense at 3rd, I care about putting enough offense on the field to compete with the Phillies. Benching Hudson because Belliard is an average defender is, imho, lame. Hudson makes us much stronger up the middle, which is far more important than who plays defense at 3rd. And having Hudson’s bat at the top of the lineup makes us much more competitive offensively. So, on both fronts, offensively and defensively, we are a better team with Hudson out there.

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