I don’t have much to add to the notes of praise about the Twins Orlando Hudson signing yesterday. The Twins are clearly better today than they were yesterday, when Nick Punto was the most likely starting second baseman. I’ll save my thoughts on Punto for February 12 (might as well join in the Nick Punto Day fun, after all), but it’s pretty clear that slotting a guy with a 779 career OPS is a massive upgrade over a guy with a 646 career OPS.
The question is who will come off the roster to make room for Hudson. To me, there is only one answer — it has to be Alexi Casilla. At this point, even if the Twins still hoped that Casilla could be a longer-term solution to the problem, they’d face the difficulty of having nowhere to stash him in 2010 (because he’s out of options) and nowhere to play him in 2010 (because of Hudson). They certainly can’t afford to burn a roster spot on him for no purpose other than being a backup to a guy who is expected to play every day.
We should find out soon what the Twins decide to do — but if they waive another young player and lose him, only to have to get rid of Casilla anyway when Spring Training is over, would be a waste. The only reason to do this would be to hope that a trade could be worked out at the end of Spring Training — but the player received in the deal would have to be better than the player removed from the 40-man roster now (assuming that player was lost) to make that work, and that seems awfully speculative unless the Twins have already secured a buyer. It was a bit of a strange ride, Alexi — but the time has come to part ways. I’m hoping the Twins see it the same way.