The Giants made another move to fortify their rotation by signing right-hander Tim Hudson to a two-year, $23MM contract. Hudson will earn $11MM in 2014 and $12MM in 2015, and the deal contains a no-trade clause. The agreement became official once Hudson passed a physical, which was not a foregone conclusion given the ugly ankle fracture that prematurely ended Hudson's 2013 season.
The 38-year-old suffered the freak ankle injury when Eric Young stepped on his foot on a play at first base on July 24. However, prior to the injury, Hudson had reversed a slow start to the season and caught fire over a span of 10 starts. From June 1 through July 24, Hudson turned in a 2.73 ERA with a 50-to-19 K/BB ratio — a stretch that left his season line at 3.97 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 55.8 percent ground-ball rate. That marks the seventh consecutive season of a sub-4.00 ERA for Hudson and the 13th such season in his strong 15-year career.
Hudson drew interest from as many as half the teams in the league, but news that he could approach $24MM over two years likely caused some interested parties to back off. Hudson had a surgical screw removed from his ankle 11 days ago and should be running by the end of the month. The Braves made an offer to retain him, but Atlanta's efforts topped out at one year and a lower salary than the $9MM he made in 2013. In addition to Atlanta, the Red Sox were said to be highly interested in Hudson. The Indians, Royals, Rangers and A's all expressed interest as well.
Hudson becomes the third member of MLBTR's Top 50 Free Agent list to sign, though his two-year contract and $11.5MM annual value is significantly better than the prediction I offered in my free agent profile for Hudson. Hudson is represented by agent Paul Cohen of TWC Sports.
Hudson will join a GIants rotation that will be fronted by Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain and also features a returning Tim Lincecum. Sabean has been highly aggressive to this point, landing Hudson in the early stages of free agency and reaching extensions with Lincecum and Hunter Pence to prevent them from ever hitting the open market.
News that the two sides were nearing an agreement on a two-year, $23MM contract was first reported by Steve Berman. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links) broke the news that Hudson and the Giants had agreed to terms and had the salary breakdown. CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly confirmed Hudson's no-trade clause, which was first reported on by ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links).
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