Daniel Hudson Rumors

NL West Notes: Rockies, Hudson, Rowland-Smith, Dodgers

Rockies owner Dick Monfort says that the organization is working on revamping its overall approach to roster development, Owen Perkins writes for MLB.com. One initiative relates to the draft. "We're still trying to draft players of character," said Monfort, "but the talent has to be there also." On the player development side, Colorado is upgrading facilities, tightening its relationships with its top affiliates, and expanding technology options for players and staff. And the club hopes to reap benefits from a variety of health initiatives. As for the current team, which is off to a rough start after dropping three of four to the Marlins, Monfort cites starting pitching as cause for hope. "I've never seen pitching like this in 10 years," Monfort said. "We got a seasoned, veteran pitcher [Brett Anderson] for $8 or $9 million that's the same kind of gamble the Broncos took with Peyton Manning."

Here's more out of the NL West…

  • MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom reports that the Diamondbacks are planning to use Daniel Hudson as a reliever upon his return from his second Tommy John surgery. Manager Kirk Gibson tells Bloom that Hudson's days as a starter with the club could be over altogether. For the time being, he's throwing bullpen sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays, and long-tossing in the interim.
  • Bloom also spoke with left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith about his long road back to the Major Leagues. The Australian southpaw has struggled with injuries over the past three seasons, most recently undergoing an appendectomy while in the midst of a strong season with Boston's Triple-A affiliate (1.55 ERA in 52 1/3 innings). Rowland-Smith made the Diamondbacks' 25-man roster out of Spring Training, but the return of Cody Ross could push him out.
  • Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt didn't specifically blame the injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Brian Wilson on the team's early games in Australia when speaking with ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon, but he hinted that they could have contributed to the poor luck. "I don't think enough thought was put into the process," said Honeycutt. Kershaw said that he didn't think the long flights were a factor, but Wilson admitted that he would have liked to have gotten a longer Spring Training to ramp up for the season.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Hudson, Nunez, Rockies, Frandsen, Myers

The Diamondbacks added righty Daniel Hudson to the club's 40-man (and subsequently placed him on the DL) as part of the agreement reached when he was re-signed, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Arizona promised the rehabbing starter that "if everything was going right with rehab and everything was feeling good, they were going to add me to the roster and put me on the DL," Hudson said. Of course, this means that he will accrue MLB service time (and take a valuable roster slot) over the course of the season. The contract pays Hudson $700K this year and provides the club a $800K option for next year, Piecoro reports. With 3.117 years of service going into the season, Hudson is within reach of a new arbitration plateu, which could give him a final arb year in 2016 before he would hit free agency. Of course, the focus now is on getting back from a second Tommy John. Here are more stray notes from around the game:

  • The Yankees made a notable move today in designating Eduardo Nunez for assignment. As MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reports, GM Brian Cashman indicated that the team was ready to move on after liking what it saw from Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte this spring. "In this most recent spring," said Cashman, "[Nunez] had a good spring but we had other guys that had better ones. He possesses a great deal of talent and you can dream on him – and we have – as a potential every day shortstop in the big leagues. All that talent is still there and I think his versatility does provide for a great deal of choices as a player on a Major League roster. We’ll see what develops in the next 10 days."
  • The Rockies' preliminary thinking is that the club will make qualifying offers after the season to outfielder Michael Cuddyer and starter Jorge De La Rosa, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Needless to say, there is plenty of season left to play before these decisions come into focus, but Heyman opines that the 35-year-old Cuddyer would seem a good candidate to accept if the offer is made.
  • For the Nationals, signing utilityman Kevin Frandsen was an extension of the team's earlier interest in Jeff Baker, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. GM Mike Rizzo had admired Frandsen's approach in his prior stints with the Giants and Phillies, and liked his fit with the club. “He really filled a role that I was looking for in that Jeff Baker type of role,” Rizzo said. “He can play third and first. This guy can play second and short and corner outfield. From afar, I really like the way he went about his business."
  • Veteran pitcher Brett Myers will not sign to pitch this year but hopes to return for 2015, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). The 33-year-old had been said to be healthy and looking for an opportunity.

Added To The 40-Man Roster: Sunday

The rosters for Opening Day were officialy submitted this afternoon. Several minor league signees have won jobs with their clubs and earned 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:

  • The Rangers announced they have purchased the contract of infielder Josh Wilson. After designating Adam Rosales for assignment and placing catcher Geovany Soto on the 60-day disabled list, there remains one opening on the Rangers' 40-man roster.
  • The Diamondbacks announced they have added right-hander Daniel Hudson to the 40-man roster and promptly placed him on the 15-day disabled list as he recovers from his second Tommy John surgery. The 27-year-old signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks last December.
  • The Cubs announced they have purchased the contracts of right-hander Brian Schlitter and catcher John Baker and placed right-hander James McDonald on the 60-day disabled list. The Cubs' roster now stands at 40. 


Diamondbacks Re-Sign Daniel Hudson

6:59pm: The Diamondbacks have officially announced the signing.

9:18am: The Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with Daniel Hudson on a minor league contract, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). Hudson is represented by Jet Sports Management.

Hudson, 26, saw his 2012 season cut short by a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow that required Tommy John surgery. After working his way back to health in 2013, Hudson took the mound in a rehab start in early June. That outing lasted just two innings, as Hudson was once again hit with the devastating news of a torn UCL. He underwent his second Tommy John surgery this summer and was non-tendered by Arizona last month.

Hudson had enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2011, totaling 222 innings of 3.49 ERA ball with 6.9 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 for the Diamondbacks. Originally acquired along with the recently traded David Holmberg in a deal that sent Edwin Jackson to the White Sox, Hudson has a 3.68 ERA in 381 1/3 career innings at the big league level. Hudson stated a preference to remain with the D-Backs shortly before his non-tender. General manager Kevin Towers recently told reporters, including MLBTR's Zach Links, that he hoped to work out a new deal with Hudson.


Diamondbacks Close To Signing Hudson, Blanco

The Diamondbacks are close to a new contract with Daniel Hudson, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.  Hudson is believed to want a deal that would guaranteed him a spot on the 40-man roster, though he is expected to be sidelined for possibly the entire 2014 season as he recovers from two Tommy John surgeries.

Hudson was non-tendered by the D'Backs earlier this month though there was mutual interest on both sides in working out a new deal.  The right-hander posted a 3.19 ERA, 3.1 K/BB and 7.2 K/9 over his first 336 Major League innings from 2009-11 and looked to be one of the game's up-and-coming young pitchers before he fell victim to injuries.  Hudson's last Major League pitch came on June 26, 2012 before undergoing Tommy John surgery, and then had to undergo a second procedure after reinjuring his elbow last June.

The D'Backs are also expected to sign veteran catcher Henry Blanco to a minor league deal with an invitation to the Major League Spring Training camp, Piecoro reports.  Blanco, 42, will return to Arizona after playing with the team as a backup in 2011-12.  Blanco posted a .474 OPS in 150 PA with the Mariners and Blue Jays in 2013 and MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently reported that Blanco is looking to play for one final season.


West Notes: Cano, Angels, Rockies, Hudson

Robinson Cano signing with the Mariners would be "dumb" for both player and team, argues FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. The Mariners need more than just one more player to become a contender, and "store-bought teams often prove to be disasters," as recent iterations of the Blue Jays and Marlins suggest. The Yankees, meanwhile, won't go past $170MM or so, even though they just agreed to sign Jacoby Ellsbury for $153MM. For Cano, signing with Seattle would be an "inexplicable money grab." It wouldn't make sense for Cano, the Mariners, or the Yankees if Cano went west. Speaking of which, here are more notes from the West divisions.

  • Bronson Arroyo and Bartolo Colon currently aren't high priorities for the Angels, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. Masahiro Tanaka, Matt Garza and Scott Feldman remain possibilities (Twitter links). Earlier this week, a report indicated that the Angels were interested in Arroyo.
  • After dealing Dexter Fowler to the Astros and working out a two-year deal with first baseman Justin Morneau, the Rockies aren't through making moves, assistant GM Bill Geivett tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. "I think we are still in the marker for a starting pitcher, another bat, and as I’ve said before, our bullpen is not closed," says Geivett, who also says that history will not be remembered as a "salary dump." 
  • Pitcher Daniel Hudson is "optimistic" he'll re-sign with the Diamondbacks, reports Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. Arizona non-tendered him on Monday after he missed most of the last two seasons due to injury. "I don't really want to go anywhere else," Hudson says. "Obviously if something doesn't work out then we'll have to figure something else out, but as long as we're cordial and we're talking and everything, I really want to make sure I stay working out with those guys."

Kevin Towers On Heath Bell Trade

Earlier today, the Diamondbacks completed a three-team deal with the Rays and Reds which saw Tampa Bay acquire catcher Ryan Hanigan from the Reds and Heath Bell from Arizona.  The D'Backs didn't get big time talent back in the trade, but they unloaded $5.5MM of the $6MM they owed to Bell in 2014.  I asked Arizona GM Kevin Towers what he might do with his newfound financial flexibility.

"We still got some bench pieces that we need to put together, we still have interest in bringing back Eric Chavez as a guy who was a key bench player on the club last year.  We also want to add depth to our starting pitching, a No. 1 or a No. 2 [type], that would probably come via trade.  We have some free agents [that we like], but we'll probably be more aggressive on the trade front.  Also, with Cody Ross coming back from the hip injury, we'll also look into a corner outfield bat," Towers said on this afternoon's conference call.

Without giving exact figures, Towers said that the payroll in 2014 will be "well above where it was last season."  Arizona's opening day payroll was roughly $86.3MM, putting them right around the middle of the pack.

It's safe to say that Bell's tenure in Arizona didn't work out exactly as Towers & Co. had hoped.  Despite that, the GM says that he's still hopeful that the 36-year-old can be a contributor for the Rays.

"Bell's velocity is still very good, his average velocity was very comparable to what we saw in San Diego and what it was in Florida…For Heath its all about location," Towers explained. "He's able to hit his spots..but the thing I saw, he didn't land his curveball as effectively as he did in San Diego.  He had a 12-6 curveball to set up his fastball…I still think he has a lot left in the tank, one thing I've always liked about him is that he has a very resilient arm."

Towers admitted that he was sorry to see left-handed pitching prospect David Holmberg go, but he said that he wouldn't have been able to secure the same kind of return without his inclusion.  That return, of course, includes more than minor league righty Justin Choate – it means the millions in financial relief and a player to be named later.  That PTBNL from Tampa Bay, Towers said, will probably be the key player in the trade from his side.  Towers added that the player cannot be disclosed now because of "administrative reasons," indicating that the player has already been agreed upon.

Even after moving Bell, who finished 32 games for the club last season, Towers said that he "won't be real active" in finding bullpen help.  Whatever needs he has, he'll look to find solutions internally.  The GM acknowledged that Randall Delgado could go to bullpen if he lands a rotation upgrade.  KT will also seek out "another multi-inning guy" besides Josh Collmenter.  As for the closer role, Towers declined to name a favorite at this stage of the offseason.

In addition to the trade talk, Towers also fielded questions on the club's decision to non-tender Daniel Hudson.  Even though the D'Backs have now lost their exclusivity with the pitcher, Towers sounds hopeful that the two sides will still hammer out a deal. 

"I think we kind of ran out of time…I'd like to say we were at the five yard line or inside of that, so my hope is that we will come to a resolution and he will be a Diamondback in the very near future.  We just weren't able to finalize anything by 10 o'clock the other night," Towers said, adding that he could see an agreement happening in the next couple weeks.  "I think both sides still want this to happen."


Diamondbacks To Non-Tender Daniel Hudson

The Diamondbacks will non-tender starter Daniel Hudson, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. Though the sides had attempted to work out a deal to keep Hudson in Arizona, he will hit the open market. 

Hudson likely would not have been a non-tender candidate were it not for his injury struggles. The righty is working back from his second Tommy John surgery at 26 years of age, but was projected to earn a $1.1MM salary through arbitration due to his strong early-career performance. Though he had an ugly 7.35 ERA in 2012, that came over just nine starts; in the prior year, his only full season of MLB work, he posted a 3.49 ERA in 222 innings.

As Nicholson-Smith notes, however, there is still reason to believe that the sides can come together. Indeed, both Hudson and the Diamondbacks have indicated a strong interest in a reunion, though he figures to garner some interest from clubs who would like to take a chance on his upside.


NL West Notes: Penny, Hudson, Diamondbacks

NL West teams have been busy of late tinkering with their last few 40-man roster spots. A look at MLBTR's DFA Tracker shows a disproportionate number of NL West names over the last two months. The Giants and, in particular, the Padres have been quite active in sending players to DFA limbo. As you digest this fascinating observation as a warmup for your turkey, we'll take a look at a few other relatively minor notes from out west:

  • Two-time All-Star hurler Brad Penny — who was, most recently, a reliever with the Giants in 2012 — will look to make a MLB comeback, according to a report from Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. "I just needed a year off to get my body back," said the 35-year-old. "It wasn't anything serious, just my shoulder was tired." Penny only lasted 28 innings in San Francisco, mustering only 3.2 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 and putting up a 6.11 ERA. But, he says, he has been building strength with an aggressive weightlifting regimine. "I think if I get an opportunity to pitch in spring training, healthier, I'm pretty confident that I can make a team," said Penny.
  • The Diamondbacks are talking with two-time Tommy John patient Daniel Hudson about working out a deal to avoid arbitration, reports Steve Gilbert of MLB.com"Hopefully we'll get something done in the next few days or over the weekend," said Hudson. "I'd like to have a long career with the Diamondbacks." Hudson has shown plenty of promise when healthy. The question, really, is how much cash Arizona wants to dole out to take a chance on the 26-year-old making the difficult comeback from a second UCL reconstruction. GM Kevin Towers has said that his front office has "tried to come up with creative ways that we can do it." MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $1.1MM arbitration award for Hudson, and the team will have until Monday to work something out or reach a decision on tendering the righty a contract.
  • Meanwhile, Arizona has decided on the coaches that will guide its pitching staff next season, writes Gilbert. Mike Harkey, recently the Yankees' bullpen coach, will become the pitching coach. And one-time Diamondbacks pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. will take over the bullpen for manager Kirk Gibson. Recent D-Backs front office addition Dave Duncan, a renowned molder of arms during his decades as a member of Tony LaRussa's staff, reportedly was involved in the hirings.

Transaction Retrospection: The Jackson-Hudson Trade

It's not often that you see a well-regarded starting pitcher (or any well-regarded player, for that matter) appear on eight different teams prior to his 30th birthday, but that's the situation in which Edwin Jackson currently finds himself. Of course, Jackson inked a four-year deal with the Cubs that should give him some stability, but that's not his first stop in Chicago.

Jackson spent parts of two seasons across town as a member of the White Sox rotation from 2010-11. General manager Kenny Williams swung a midseason deal in 2010 that brought a struggling Jackson from the Diamondbacks to the White Sox in exchange for right-hander Daniel Hudson (23 years old at the time) and minor league lefty David Holmberg (18). It's been nearly three years since that trade occurred, so let's take a look at the players involved…

The Major League Side:Edwin

  • Edwin Jackson: While he had thrown a no-hitter for the D-backs that season, Jackson was struggling at the time of the trade. He'd posted a 5.16 ERA in in 21 starts but was coming off a solid 2009 campaign and had one and a half years of team control remaining. Jackson turned things around with the South Siders in a big way. His K/9 rate soared from 7.0 to 9.2 while his BB/9 dropped from 4.0 to 2.2. Jackson contributed 1.9 WAR (per Fangraphs) to an 88-win season for the White Sox, but they came up short and finished second in the AL Central. He was terrific in the first half of 2011 as well, posting an even 3.0 WAR before being traded to the Blue Jays (who immediately flipped him to St. Louis) in a deal that netted Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart while also freeing the Sox of the remaining $7.2MM on Mark Teahen's contract.
  • Daniel Hudson: Hudson ranked as Chicago's No. 3 prospect, per Baseball America, prior to the 2010 season. He'd struggled in three big league starts that year, but he was a revelation for the Diamondbacks down the stretch. In 11 starts following the trade, Hudson posted a 1.69 ERA, 7.9 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9, cementing his place in Arizona's rotation. He followed up that 2.2 WAR effort with an incredible 4.9-win sophomore campaign for the D-backs, but he was a Tommy John victim after just nine ugly starts in 2012. All told, Hudson has a 3.58 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 347 innings as a Diamondback. He's not yet eligible for arbitration and can be controlled through 2016.

The Minor League Side:

  • David Holmberg: At the time of the trade, Holmberg was BA's eighth-ranked White Sox prospect, but he'd struggled to a 4.46 ERA in eight starts in the rookie-level Pioneer League that season. Holmberg has ascended quickly, however, and now ranks as the D-backs' No. 6 prospect according to BA and the No. 8 prospect according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. BA notes that Holmberg is likely to reach his ceiling of a No. 3 or 4 starter in the Major Leagues thanks to his plus command and a very strong changeup. His fastball sits 88-91 mph and can touch 93 at times. Mayo notes that while Tyler Skaggs is the lefty who gets all of the buzz in the Diamondbacks' system, Holmberg "isn't that far behind him." Holmberg reached Double-A as a 20-year-old in 2012 and made 15 solid starts. Now 21 years of age, he's opened the 2013 season at the same level and sports a 3.10 ERA 6.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 151 career Double-A innings.

Three years later, it looks like the Diamondbacks got a very good return for a talented but struggling starter. It's conceivable that within the next two seasons, 40 percent of Arizona's rotation will consist of the two players they received in this deal. Jerry Dipoto, the D-backs' GM at the time of the trade (he's now GM of the Angels), did well to secure a pair of prospects who ranked in Chicago's Top 10.

The price Chicago paid doesn't seem crazy either, given Jackson's terrific results with the White Sox. Jackson gave them 4.9 wins above replacement, but most fans will look back on this trade in a negative light due to the lack of return for Jackson when they traded him a year later. That's a fair criticism (and also a trade for another post), but Jackson was every bit the pitcher the White Sox were hoping he'd be when they acquired him. This would probably go down as a win-win had the Sox contended in 2011 or made the playoffs in 2010.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.