Tim Hudson Rumors

Hudson Has Offer From Braves; Other Teams Interested

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.


Nicholson-Smith On McCann, Tanaka, Hudson, Johan

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 Interested In Re-Signing Tim Hudson

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 BeachyAlex 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.



NL Notes: Rockies, Pirates, Mets, Managerial Searches

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 PostTim 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).

Free Agent Profile: Tim Hudson

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.

Strengths/Pros

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-TimHudson 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.

Weaknesses/Cons

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.

Personal

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.

Market

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.

Expected Contract

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.


Tim Hudson To Be 100 Percent By Early November

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.


Cafardo On Ruiz, Napoli, Hudson, Sizemore

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that there are several top teams that will have surpluses in certain areas this offseason that will be second guessing whatever move they make.  In the case of the Dodgers, they have four strong outfielders in Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford.  One would imagine that Ethier, who is frequently in trade rumors, would be the one to go, but GM Ned Colletti could also give some thought to dealing Kemp if the right offer comes along.  Here's more from today's column..

  • After bouncing back from a slow start, catcher Carlos Ruiz is desirable again and the Phillies are more enthused about the idea of re-signing him.  That may prove to be difficult once Ruiz gets to the open market as he’d be a cheaper alternative to Brian McCann or Jarrod Saltalamacchia and more consistent than Dioner Navarro.
  • According to Mike Napoli's agent Brian Grieper, there still haven't been contract talks with the Red Sox.  It appears they will play it out and decide about a qualifying offer.  One possibility is that they put Xander Bogaerts at third and Will Middlebrooks at first, taking Napoli out of the equation.
  • Tim Hudson, 38, wants to return from the ankle fracture he suffered in July.  Hudson, who should cleared for baseball activities by mid-December, will be a free agent but wants to stay in Atlanta.  It'll come down to the money for the veteran, who earned $9MM this season.
  • Grady Sizemore tried to get back playing this season, but he needs more time for his knees to heal. He'll likely be ready for a major league camp next spring and work out for teams this offseason to show he’s healthy.  If he looks OK, he’ll probably get a few teams interested.
  • Some still believe that it was a mistake for the Angels to only pay Mike Trout $510K this season and that he won't forget it when it comes time to work out a new deal with the club.

Quick Hits: Hudson, Axford, DeJesus, Downs

It's time for MLB to push the trade deadline from July 31st to a later date, opines Dave Cameron of Fangraphs.  Cameron argues that with an expanded postseason, many teams are still holding out hope around this time of year that they are still in it and therefore they aren't selling.  A new deadline would certainly take some getting used to, but the date has shifted over time.  As you ponder Cameron's suggestion, here are some links from around the league…

  • Braves pitcher Tim Hudson fractured his ankle against the Mets tonight as he was covering first base and the club announced that he will need to undergo season-ending ankle surgery.  Before Hudson's injury, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com noted that Atlanta had some interest in acquiring another starter.
  • The Brewers have shipped off Francisco Rodriguez, but Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweets that plenty of teams are still interested in their remaining bullpen arms such as John Axford and Mike Gonzalez. The Dodgers are among the interested parties, according to Knobler.
  • Cubs outfielder David DeJesus is returning just in time to be showcased for the deadline, but club president Theo Epstein doesn't think he's going anywhere, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.  However, he won't make any guarantees.  "Does that make him untouchable?" Epstein said. "No, no one is untouchable, but we'll sit and weigh out the options as to what's best for the Cubs. Just because you may listen on somebody doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate everything he brings to the organization."
  • Peter Gammons of the MLB Network reports that the Angels are receiving calls on lefty Scott Downs, who is a free agent at season's end (Twitter link). A deal is unlikely to happen, however, Gammons adds.
  • One league executive told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (via Twitter) that he has "no doubt" that the Phillies are buyers after talking to them.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


NL East Notes: Phillies, Parnell, Hudson, Nationals

To start off the weekend, I recommend you have a read of this interesting look at baseball across the pond. On the MLB side of things, here are a few notes from around the National League East:

  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is poised to decide between buying and selling — or, perhaps, somewhere in-between — depending upon the club's performance in the ten-game homestand it kicked off last night, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com was among those to report. The team picked up a game on the division-leading Braves last night, but has two more against Atlanta before welcoming the Nationals and then White Sox. While not among the quotes passed along in the article, in the video found at the link, Amaro says that he has "had a lot of discussions in the last three or four days" and has seen "a lot of interest in some pretty good players on our club."
  • In his worthwhile look in at available relievers, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal did not include the Mets and closer Bobby Parnell. In a tweet, Rosenthal explained that he has been told that the team is not interested in dealing Parnell unless it is "blown away" by an offer. Parnell, 28, has been excellent for New York and still has two more years of arbitration eligibility before reaching free agency.
  • Braves starter Tim Hudson said he was surprised to learn of a report suggesting that he expected to be traded and denied it completely, according to a post from MLB.com's Trade Deadline blog. Of course, Hudson enjoys ten and five rights, meaning he would have the authority to veto any potential trade. As Rosenthal reports on Twitter this morning, Braves GM Frank Wren also says there is "no validity at all" to the notion that Hudson will be dealt.
  • The Nationals are definitely interested in adding a starter, according to a report (on Twitter) from ESPN's Buster Olney. As the struggling Dan Haren tries to work out his issues while on the DL, the team has turned to youngster Taylor Jordan. Though Jordan has been successful in two starts, it would be risky indeed to rely on him (and the team's other minor leaguers) to step up if Haren is unable to regain his form down the stretch.

Quick Hits: Cubs, Hudson, Hamilton

Cubs manager Dale Sveum is upset with his team's recent play and says that players who don't perform won't have big-league jobs, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times reports. That goes for top young players Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. "I don’t think [anyone’s] invincible if you’re not performing," Sveum says regarding Castro and Rizzo. "It’s not about what we think can happen three or four years from now. It’s time to perform on a consistent basis."

Wittenmyer writes that Sveum's harsh words for Castro and Rizzo "threw a sudden dose of skepticism and doubt into the widespread assumptions about the Cubs’ core," but acknowledges that, in reality, Castro and Rizzo will be with the Cubs for the foreseeable future. Sveum is suggesting they might be demoted, but that seems extremely unlikely, and it's even less likely that either of them would be traded. The Cubs signed Castro to a seven-year, $60MM contract last August. Rizzo is not signed to a long-term deal. Both players have hit well this season despite occasional mistakes in the field. Here are more notes from around the majors.

  • John Poloni — also known as the "fat scout" in Michael Lewis' Moneyball – lobbied for the Athletics to draft Tim Hudson in 1997, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Hudson wasn't regarded as a top draft prospect due to his size, but Poloni told the A's that Hudson had "the best sinker he'd ever seen." 16 years later, Hudson is nearing his 200th win in the big leagues. That doesn't mean Poloni is rushing to take credit, however. "He exceeded my expectations, too," Poloni says. "A lot of times, it's pure luck."
  • Last offseason's big-ticket free agents haven't performed well so far, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Rick Hummel. One of the highest-profile disappointments thus far has probably been Josh Hamilton of the Angels, although it's still early enough in the season that one big series could make any player's statistics look considerably better.