It didn’t get much fanfare, but the Rangers yesterday signed Orioles farmhand Kyle Hudson to a minor league contract and an invite to join the major leaguers for Spring Training. Hudson is a speedster with lots of stolen bases and no power to speak of. Yet this signing appears to send a number of messages.
Despite Hudson’s big league career consisting of 28 September at bats at the end of 2011, his signing could be a sign of other things to come or of the Rangers front office not having confidence in the situation before Hudson’s signing.
OK, now that I’ve spent two paragraphs being cryptic, let me explain.
Hudson, you see, is a center fielder. A left-handed hitting center fielder. A left-handed hitting centerfielder with speed. So far, that also describes incumbent Julio Borbon, who many may have forgotten about, as he went on the DL with an injury in May 2011 and ended up spending the rest of the season in AAA Round Rock due to the play of Endy Chavez.
Here’s where the roads diverge. Hudson has a reputation of being a good defensive center fielder as well. Borbon’s defense has been much-maligned.
It’s pretty sure that Craig Gentry has already nailed down a roster spot with his center field play and defense of a year ago, platooning in center with Chavez.
Thus, the Hudson signing tells me four things:
1) The Rangers aren’t confident Gentry can handle center field on a fulltime basis (ie batting vs. right-handers)
2) The Rangers have lost confidence in the southpaw hitting Borbon.
3) The Rangers think Leonys Martin, the Cuban defector they signed to a multi-million dollar contract less than a year ago and played CF for AA Frisco and AAA Round Rock, is not quite ready for primetime in Arlington.
4) Considering another Cuban defector, CF Yeonis Cespedes, is thought by scouts to be big league ready, the Rangers are unlikely to try to sign him.
That’s a lot to infer from one minor league deal. And yet it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Kyle Hudson on the major league roster for the Texas Rangers on Opening Day 2012.