Tim Hudson suffered a gruesome ankle injury that required surgery and cut short what was shaping up to be another strong season. The right-hander hasn't thrown a pitch since July 24, but MLBTR has learned that he expects to be 100 percent in early to mid-November. Hudson will look to sign a Major League deal this offseason.
Prior to his injury, Hudson had posted a 3.97 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a characteristically strong 55.8 percent ground-ball rate in 131 1/3 innings. He'd particularly picked things up from June 1, as he'd posted a 2.73 ERA over his past 10 starts (69 1/3 innings), lasting at least seven frames in eight of those contests. Advanced metrics like FIP (3.46), xFIP (3.56) and SIERA (3.75) all felt that his ERA could've been a bit lower.
The early recovery date will impact the 2014 free agent market. That teams won't need to wait until after the New Year to gauge his health should make him a candidate for any club looking for short-term upgrades to its rotation. If he doesn't stay with the Braves, Hudson could be an attractive alternative to pitchers like Hiroki Kuroda and A.J. Burnett; all are solid veterans in the late stages of their career, but Hudson would likely come at a reduced rate on an incentive-laden deal due to his injury. He's also less likely to receive a qualifying offer than either Kuroda or Burnett.
Hudson didn't rank on Tim Dierkes' final edition of the 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings, but he figures to find a home on MLBTR's annual Top 50 Free Agents list following the postseason.