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Tim Hudson Rumors
On this date 25 years ago, the Dodgers' Orel Hershiser was an unanimous selection as the National League Cy Young Award winner becoming the only player to be named the Cy Young, NLCS MVP, and World Series MVP in the same season. 1988 was the benchmark in Hershiser's career highlighted by his still-standing MLB record of pitching 59 consecutive scoreless innings. The "Bulldog" also set career-highs in wins (23), strikeouts (190), innings pitched (267.0), complete games (15), and shutouts (8). Here are today's news and notes from the NL West:
- The Padres appear to be set in terms of rotation depth, Corey Brock of MLB.com writes. They aren't likely to target a starter this offseason unless it's a player that could sit at the top of a rotation or provide long-term value. Such a move would likely be via trade, Brock says, adding that the club's main focus will be on finding left-handed offense.
- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle profiles Giants pitching prospect Kyle Crick, who has drawn comparisons to Matt Cain. While the 20-year-old Crick may have the highest ceiling among Giants pitching prospects, he's not likely to help the major league club in 2014, as he finished the year at High-A San Jose.
- The Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck comments on a report from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal that the Dodgers are listening on Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford. Shopping the veteran outfielders is the right move as the club explores extensions for Hanley Ramirez and Clayton Kershaw, Dilbeck says. However, he adds that the salaries and injury histories of the three make a deal unlikely.
- The Rockies have reached out to Tim Hudson, but they will have to overpay in either dollars or years to pique his interest, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. MLBTR's Steve Adams predicts a one-year, $9MM contract for Hudson (#31 on MLBTR's 2014 Top 50 Free Agents list), but Renck believes the right-hander may be able to secure a two-year deal with as many as 15 teams in pursuit.
- Within the same article, Renck reports the Rockies will make an offer to free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, but it's unclear whether they are willing to go beyond two years.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Here's the latest on the Braves from David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution…
- The Braves could move Dan Uggla if they can find a team willing to pay roughly a quarter of the $26MM remaining owed to the second baseman over the next two seasons Tyler Pastornicky, Tommy La Stella and Ramiro Pena would all compete for the 2B job in Spring Training, though I'd guess the Braves would want to bring in a more established second baseman.
- The Braves offered Tim Hudson a one-year deal that, even with incentives, was worth less than the $9MM than he earned in each of the previous four seasons. They never considered making Hudson a qualifying offer since the $14.1MM price was too rich for a 38-year-old coming off a severely broken ankle. While the Braves want Hudson back, they're just one of at least nine teams interested in the veteran righty and the healthy market could net Hudson a two-year, $24MM deal.
- O'Brien would "be shocked" if Brian McCann received a $100MM contract and thinks the catcher will receive something akin to a five-year, $75MM deal. Given the big-market clubs interested in McCann's services, there have been rumors that he would indeed fetch such a nine-figure contract.
- The Braves' payroll is expected to rise from $90MM to around $100MM, which isn't enough for the club to obtain a top-tier ace in free agency. To add a veteran to their young staff, O'Brien wonders if Atlanta could take a chance on a former ace like Roy Halladay if Hudson leaves.
- The team has been hesitant to trade top prospects in recent years and O'Brien doesn't see that changing, so the likes of Christian Bethancourt or Lucas Sims wouldn't be moved in a potential deal for David Price or Max Scherzer.
- There isn't any talk in the Braves organization of exploring trades involving Evan Gattis.
The Rockies only won 74 games in 2013 but senior VP of baseball operations Bill Geivett believes his club is close to contending. "We like our core group of guys. We feel like we have a good crew to build around. I know some people disagree, but we don't feel that we are that far away," Geivett tells Troy Renck of the Denver Post, though he noted that the Rockies need Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki to be healthy to make this happen. Here's the latest out of Denver…
- Geivett again stressed that the Rockies aren't interested in trading Tulowitzki or Gonzalez. Renck agrees, saying "a dramatic shift would have to occur in their thinking this offseason for trade talks to get going" (Twitter link).
- That said, Renck believes the Cardinals will at least "make the call" to gauge interest in Tulowitzki. Renck notes that it would take several of St. Louis' top prospects to make such a trade plausible. Earlier today, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal proposed an Allen Craig/Shelby Miller/Trevor Rosenthal package plus a lesser prospect and Colorado paying some of the $130MM remaining on Tulowitzki's salary, though Rosenthal admitted that a Tulowitzki trade is a "longshot."
- The Rockies are interested in free agent starter Tim Hudson, Renck reports (via Twitter). This makes Colorado the ninth team known to have an interest in the righty and Renck says "roughly 15 teams" comprise Hudson's market.
- Carlos Beltran has been a Rockies target in the past and MLB.com's Thomas Harding wouldn't be surprised to see the team attempt to sign the veteran slugger this winter. Beltran would take over in right while Michael Cuddyer would move to first.
- Also from Harding, the Rockies are expected to inquire about Josh Johnson. It doesn't seem like Johnson would be a fit, as since the right-hander is looking for a one-year deal to rebuild his value, he isn't likely to take such a contract at Coors Field.
The Giants haven't needed to focus on upgrading their rotation in a while but the team is clearly looking to add starting pitching this winter. Here's the latest out of San Francisco…
- The Giants are looking at a long list of starters that includes Tim Hudson, Dan Haren and Bronson Arroyo, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. As many as a dozen pitchers could be on the club's wish list, Schulman says, though it isn't yet clear if the Giants will bid on Masahiro Tanaka (Twitter links). Beyond the Giants, Hudson has drawn interest from seven other teams and is already considering an offer from the Braves.
- The Giants are "well-positioned" to sign Arroyo, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets, though it depends on how the veteran righty's market develops.
- The Giants are thought to prefer short-term deals for starters, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince reports, which would explain their targeting of veteran arms like Haren or Hudson. Since the Giants' rotation already has some solid pieces, Castrovince argues that GM Brian Sabean should focus most of his available resources on an offensive upgrade like Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo.
- Since signing Tanaka wouldn't cost the Giants draft pick compensation like some other top free agent pitchers, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle feels the team should put some of its new TV contract money towards acquiring the Japanese right-hander.
- Barry Meister, Javier Lopez's agent, tells MLB.com's Chris Haft that a "significant number" of teams have contacted him about his client but Meister is "continuing to talk to the Giants." Both Lopez and the Giants share a mutual interest in continuing the southpaw's time in San Francisco though since Meister said he has only had "very preliminary" talks with other teams, the market has yet to fully develop for Lopez's services.
MLBTR's Jeff Todd also contributed to this post
Tim Hudson had the surgical screw removed from his injured right ankle yesterday and should be cleared to run within a couple of weeks, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Hudson's recovery is on schedule, according to O'Brien. Earlier in the week it was reported that Hudson has an offer to return to Atlanta, but as many as eight teams have already reached out. Here's the latest on the longtime Brave as he and agent Paul Cohen of TWC Sports test the free agent market…
- Despite already having six starters for five spots, the Red Sox "really want" Hudson, a person familiar with the team's thinking told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman adds that the Braves still value Hudson as a veteran in a surprisingly young clubhouse.
- Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets that the interest is mutual between Hudson and the Red Sox. Hudson is close with catcher David Ross and wants to win a World Series ring before he retires, Passan adds.
- Executives have told Passan that Hudson could command as much as a two-year, $24MM contract on the free agent market (Twitter link). Hudson is benefiting from not being tied to draft pick compensation, but a deal of that size would still shatter most pundits' expectations.
4:57pm: Eight teams have contacted Hudson, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Giants, Red Sox, A's and Rangers have all reached out in addition to the Braves, Indians and Royals.
12:30pm: Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets that close to 10 teams have already expressed interest in Hudson.
12:25pm: Not surprisingly, Tim Hudson won't be receiving a qualifying offer, but the Braves have already extended him a one-year offer to return for the 2014 season, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. Bowman doesn't have the financial details of the offer beyond its one-year term, but he notes that the Indians and Royals have both already expressed interest in luring Hudson away from the Braves.
According to Bowman, Indians manager Terry Francona has already had a lengthy phone call with Hudson, and Royals manager Ned Yost plans to contact him later in the week. Hudson and agent Paul Cohen of TWC Sports have yet to make a counter offer to the Braves' proposed one-year pact.
Hudson is set to have a screw removed from his ankle this week — the final step in his recovery from a gruesome fracture suffered in late July when Eric Young stepped on his foot in a close play at first base. Hudson could be throwing off a mound within two weeks of the screw's removal, writes Bowman.
On the Brian McCann front, Bowman lists the Rangers as the early front-runners to sign the longtime Braves backstop as a free agent, though he notes that the Yankees and Red Sox are also expected to be in the mix. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes confirmed earlier today, McCann will receive a qualifying offer. He's a lock to reject that offer and hit the open market, though.
With free agency underway, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reached out to 40 Major League Baseball executives and agents to gauge the markets for both pitchers and hitters. Here are just some of the highlights from each well-crafted analysis constructed by my former MLBTR colleague…
- Brian McCann hasn't ruled out a return to the Braves, despite the fact that most pundits are projecting him to sign with an American League team on a contract that's far too expensive for Atlanta's liking. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes profiled McCann in September and predicted a five-year, $80MM deal.
- Many executives and agents that spoke to Nicholson-Smith doubt that Robinson Cano actually has a chance at reaching the $300MM mark that he and agent Brodie Van Wagenen suggested last month.
- Cuban catcher Yenier Bello is expected to work out for big league teams on Nov. 5 in Tijuana, Mexico. The powerful 28-year-old hasn't yet been cleared by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), though MLB cleared him a month ago.
- While we've heard several scouts predict that Masahiro Tanaka won't live up to the ace standards set by Yu Darvish, Nicholson-Smith found that there are several teams that do view Tanaka as a potential ace/top-of-the-rotation starter.
- Tim Hudson's agent, Paul Cohen of TWC Sports, told Nicholson-Smith that his client wants to play for two or three more seasons and is interested in signing a multiyear contract this winter. I profiled Hudson last month, projecting a one-year, $9MM contract, but noted that some teams may be interested at two years.
- Johan Santana wants to return to the Majors and recently began throwing. The two-time AL Cy Young winner didn't pitch in 2013, but he should be able to generate interest as a high-upside signing that comes with little risk.
- Javier Lopez is seeking a multiyear deal this winter after another strong season with the Giants, and Nicholson-Smith gets the sense that there are many non-closing relievers eyeing multiyear deals. He spoke to some executives who feel that left-handed relief is one of the strengths of this year's market.
Braves general manager Frank Wren has given indications that he would be open to re-signing Tim Hudson, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. MLB.com's Mark Bowman offers the same take (also via Twitter), though his wording — "strong indication" — is even more emphatic than O'Brien's.
Hudson, who turned 38 in July, saw his season end prematurely in a gruesome freak accident in which Eric Young Jr. stepped on his ankle in a race to first base, resulting in a fracture that would require surgery. Though he didn't pitch after July 24, Hudson still totaled 131 innings of 3.97 ERA ball with 6.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 55.8 percent ground-ball rate. Prior to his injury, he'd rattled off a 2.73 ERA over the course of 10 starts, shaking off the rust from an early-season slump.
In my recent free agent profile for Hudson, I noted that he could be forced to find a new team due to the Braves' wealth of young pitching talent. Atlanta currently has Kris Medlen, Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy, Alex Wood and David Hale as rotation candidates with big league experience, and that's before even mentioning top prospects J.R. Graham and Sean Gilmartin, each of whom could surface in the Majors next season.
If the Braves are interested in retaining their longtime rotation stalwart, it's hard to imagine a better fit for Hudson. He makes his home in the Atlanta suburbs, would be reunited with his coaching staff and teammates and would also joining a contender for the 2014 season. Hudson is scheduled to be healthy in early- to mid-November, so the Braves should be able to quickly determine how much they feel he can help them in 2014.
The NLCS is taking a day off as the scene shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 tomorrow night with the Cardinals leading the Dodgers 2-0. Here is the latest news and notes out of the National League today:
- The Rockies need to improve their talent acquisition via the draft and Latin America in order to overcome the crushing injuries suffered in recent seasons, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Tim Hudson, whose free agency was profiled this past week by MLBTR's Steve Adams, would make a perfect middle-of-the-rotation starter for the Rockies, Renck opines.
- The Pirates' payroll will increase significantly in 2014 aiding their efforts to retain free agents Marlon Byrd and A.J. Burnett while also trying to sign Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez to long-term extensions, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempfel.
- The Mets will face a dilemma with their 40-man roster when it comes time to protect minor league players from the Rule 5 draft, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin. The Mets' 40-man roster is currently full and will be so again once the eight players on the 60-day disabled list replace the eight pending free agents on the 40-man. Jordany Valdespin headlines Rubin's list of eight Mets who could lose their roster spot.
- The Reds' managerial search is centered on pitching coach Bryan Price and Triple-A manager Jim Riggleman, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Fay expects Price to get the job; but, if neither candidate impresses ownership in upcoming interviews, the search may be expanded.
- Nationals third-base coach Trent Jewett has an excellent shot to become the team's next manager, reports ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider subscription required).
After a slow start to his 2013 campaign, Tim Hudson was on a serious hot streak before a fractured ankle — suffered while covering first base on a grounder — put an end to his season in late July. Hudson won't have the luxury of hitting free agency off another 200-inning season, but there should still be plenty of teams interested in the TWC Sports client.
Hudson, who turned 38 in July, is as seasoned a veteran as there is on the free agent market, but that experience doesn't come at the cost of greatly diminished results. Hudson's 3.97 ERA this season was roughly league average (97 ERA+), but it was also largely the product of a slow start and abnormally low strand rate. Hudson pitched to a 5.37 ERA through June 1, but over his final 10 starts in 2013, he compiled a 2.73 ERA and 50-to-19 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 innings. He worked at least seven innings in eight of those contests. Advanced metrics like FIP (3.46), xFIP (3.56) and SIERA (3.75) all feel his ERA should have been lower.
Hudson has never posted a ground-ball rate lower than 55 percent, and you'd have to go back to 2006 to find the last time that he averaged more than three walks per nine innings. Both of those traits help keep his pitch counts low, allowing him to work deep into games. Hudson personifies the "bulldog" mentality, as he's averaged 6 2/3 innings per start over his 15-year career, and that hasn't changed much of late; he's averaged 6.5 innings per start over the past four seasons. Hudson is more than just an innings eater though, as he's only posted an ERA north of 4.00 twice in his 15-year Major League career.
Given his age and his injury, the Braves don't figure to extend a qualifying offer, meaning that Hudson won't require the sacrifice of a draft pick this offseason. Despite the fact that his season ended in July, Hudson is scheduled to be 100 percent by early- to mid-November, so teams will be able to get a look at him early rather than waiting until after the New Year.
Hudson's never been much of a strikeout pitcher, and that's unlikely to change at this stage of his career. His 2013 K/9 rate of 6.5 was the fourth-highest single-season mark of his career and his second-highest since 2002. Teams with questionable infield defense will likely be a bit more wary of Hudson.
While this season's injury was of a fluky nature, it still marks the third time since 2008 that Hudson has undergone surgery. He had Tommy John back in August of 2008 and underwent back surgery to repair a herniated disc in November of 2011 — an operation that cost him the first month of the 2012 season. Hudson has typically been healthy throughout his career, but teams may try to use the fact that he's spent time on the DL in four of the past six seasons as leverage.
Hudson has begun to see a slight drop in his velocity as well. After averaging 90-91 mph from 1999-2011, he's failed to crack the 90 mph plateau in 2012-13, though he was close this season (89.7 mph). He's still remained effective working in the 89 mph range, but further decline could be problematic. He'll turn 39 next July, so his age will also be a factor in negotiations. He joins Hiroki Kuroda and Bartolo Colon as the oldest free agent starters in this year's class.
Tim and his wife, Kim, make their home in Peachtree City — about 30 miles from Atlanta's Turner Field. They have two daughters and a son. In 2009, he founded the Hudson Family Foundation, which has raised more than $400K, primarily for children with health issues throughout Alabama and Georgia. Hudson is known as a natural leader in the clubhouse and gained that reputation early in his career. He enjoys displaying his excellent golf skills in the offseason and spending time at his personal ranch in his native state of Alabama.
Given his age, Hudson seems likely to prioritize winning teams with his eyes set on a World Series. Hudson is a veteran of six postseasons between the A's and Braves, but he's never been a part of a team that won a playoff series. All six times he's gone to the postseason, his team has lost in the Division Series. Still, that postseason experience and Hudson's strong track record will appeal to teams, particularly if they have a top-heavy rotation and would like to add some balance to the middle ranks. He and agent Paul Cohen won't have a difficult time drumming up interest around the league.
Given the amount of time he's spent with the Braves, the team's strong core and his Georgia home, Hudson's preference may be to remain in Atlanta. However, the Braves' wealth of young starting pitching could lead GM Frank Wren to make a tough decision and prioritize other areas of need. Hudson would be a nice addition to probable contenders like the Dodgers, A's, Pirates, Rangers and Nationals. He may prefer to try to pitch closer to the southeast portion of the country than head to a West Coast contender, given his strong family ties in the region.
I expect Hudson to prioritize a winning environment over maximizing his salary (he's already earned $98MM+ in his Major League career). He could follow the route that other veterans such as Colon, Kuroda and Andy Pettitte have taken in recent years, signing one-year deals with contenders in search of a deep postseason run. His injury hurts his stock, but given the quick recovery timeline and the fact that it's not an elbow or shoulder ailment, it shouldn't force him to take a dramatic pay cut. Though the right two-year deal could be appealing, I expect that Hudson will sign a one-year, $9MM contract this offseason.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.