Friday, February 5, 2010

O-Dog is Here (+ Penn State Preview)

The Twins have signed second-baseman Orlando Hudson to a 1-year, five-million dollar deal in an excellent move to shore up the weak infield positions, as well as giving the team a legit #2 hitter so Gardy can stop hitting Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert there.

Hudson is 32 and rumored to be on a decline according to some, but he's actually improved his OPS+ each of the last four seasons which just goes to show you can't trust a bunch of morons who use their preconceived notions and nothing more than their eyes and some kind of elusive "feel" to determine a player's worth. 

Last season he hit .283/.357/.417 with 62 walks and 35 doubles, and based on is last few seasons that is pretty much what you can expect next season, a massive bump from last year when Twins' second basemen combined to hit just .209/.302/.267 with just 25 extra-base hits.  Despite his four gold gloves, including one last year, his defense is probably slipping a bit according to a bunch of metrics I barely understand, but the upgrade on offense more than offsets any defects.

Simply put, a great signing by the Twins, and a good sign that they were willing to open the wallets and give a much needed piece five million dollars.  I was convinced they were going to offer three and lose him to Cleveland who would offer more money.  I'm a big fan of this signing.

I'm not as big a fan of the Gophers' NCAA chances at this point.  This Penn State game is obviously a must-win, but really it's more than that.  A win means, well, not much.  You just have to win it, because a loss is probably a season-ender.  Maybe not mathematically, but I don't think even the most ardent and optimistic gopher supporter would expect a bid if they lose on Saturday.

I was going to do a full five-question style preview, but what's the point?  You know the drill.  Penn State is a terrible team with one extraordinary player in Talor Battle and that's it.  About the only thing they do well is not allow offensive rebounds - they are mediocre to awful in every other measurable trait.  They're 0-10 in the Big Ten and already have losses to Iowa, UNC-Wilmington, and Tulane this season.  There is no real reason the Gophers should lose this game.


Penn State won't end up going winless in the Big Ten this year, they just won't.  They're going to have to win at home, and they aren't going to beat Michigan State, Ohio State, or Purdue, so it's going to be Minnesota or Northwestern (or both).  The Gophers are coming off their most embarrassing loss of the season, there's turmoil all over the place both off the court and on the court, Tubby's proclamation that nobody's job is safe as well as his bizarre substitution patters likely have this team completely rattled and I doubt anybody feels really confident over there right now.

In other words, they're ripe for the picking.  Bring on the Shockers.

Penn State 68, Minnesota 60.


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