The Twins are in the final stages of negotiating a one-year, $5 million contract with free-agent second baseman Orlando Hudson, according to major-league sources.
Several hurdles remain before the deal will be completed, including Hudson passing a physical, the source said. But Hudson clearly has chosen the Twins, and the momentum for an agreement continues to build.
The Nationals long were thought to be the front-runners for Hudson, but overplayed their hands by waiting for his price to drop. The Indians also were interested, but were unable to trade right-hander Fausto Carmona to clear payroll.
Hudson, the National League Gold Glove winner at second base last season, figures to be a welcome addition for a team with a strong defensive tradition. He also should fit neatly into the Twins' batting order, hitting second in front of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
The signing of Hudson likely will result in the Twins using Nick Punto and Brendan Harris at third base. The move also will serve as further evidence of the Twins' commitment to winning at a time when they are trying to sign Mauer long-term.
Hudson, 32, made the All-Star team after getting off to a hot start for the Dodgers last season, but lost his starting job to Ron Belliard in September. He ended up appearing in 149 games and posting a batting/on-base/slugging line of .283-.357-.417 with nine home runs and 62 RBIs.
Some scouts and executives believe that Hudson has not been the same both offensively and defensively since undergoing surgery to repair his left wrist in 2008.