Jul 24, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson (15) before the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

How Bad do the Braves Want Tim Hudson Back?

This is starting to get downright discouraging.

Tonight is the deadline for teams to have exclusive negotiation rights with their soon-to-be free agents.  Earlier today, we heard that the Braves are going to give catcher Brian McCann the magic Qualifying Offer of $14.1 million that will allow Atlanta to least get a compensation draft pick back next June.  Small comfort for the loss, but it’s something.

Now comes word – via MLB beat writer Mark Bowman – that other teams have already contacted Tim Hudson, expressing serious interest in him services for next season.

On the surface, you’d have to think “okay, well one of those teams is Kansas City – and they’re always interested in Braves’ players.”  Yes, but they are about to lose Ervin Santana, so they need another front-line starter.  Also, Ned Yost is their manager, so it’s hardly surprising that the former Braves coach (yes, they even steal our coaches… via Milwaukee, in this case) certainly knows what he’s shopping for in Tim Hudson.

Turns out there could be several teams looking at Tim:

  • Bowman mentions that the Indians are well along in talking with him already (Terry Francona, specifically mentioned).
  • The Giants just said goodbye to Barry Zito… and Huddy started across the Bay in Oakland, don’t forget.
  • Colorado is said to be looking for pitching.
  • The Yankees always want pitching, but have multiple holes to fill.
  • Heck, you could probably make a case for at least 20 teams.  But Bowman says…

But the 38-year-old veteran pitcher has been encouraged by the fact that approximately 10 teams have already contacted him.   The Royals and Indians are the clubs that have shown the most interest so far.

The Braves have not simply assumed that Tim is theirs for the taking… at the same time, they apparently haven’t given Tim the ‘offer he can’t refuse:’

The Braves have already made a one-year offer to Hudson.  But Hudson and his agent have not yet chosen to make a counter offer.

In other words, the Hudson camp is going to see what the market really looks like for him.  At that point, I expect they will likely make a counter-offer to the Braves.  Then we’ll truly see how bad Atlanta wants him back.

Tim Hudson is not completely healthy yet from that ankle break, but there’s also no obvious medical reason why he shouldn’t be 100% for Spring.  Some milestones to that end come up this month, as Bowman has mentioned.  But medical concerns do not seem to be hindering those making their inquiries.

Tim has a career record of 205-111, and has never posted a losing W-L record in 15 major league seasons.  He’s been an Atlanta Brave since being acquired from Oakland prior to the 2005 season.  His best W-L records with this club were 16 wins in 2007, 17 in 2010, and 16 again in 2011, 2012.  He has been a horse, logging 200+ innings 4 times in Atlanta – 4 more with Oakland, and coming close 3 other times.  Tim’s lifetime era is 3.44, with 48.3 fWAR.

The Braves are on a budget.  Tim has strong roots with Atlanta – and everybody knows it.  They need Tim to accept something of a discount… which I expect he will do to some extent.  The big question, then, is this:  at what rate (and duration of contract) will Tim say “thanks, but no thanks” to Frank Wren?

Tim’s last deal (pretty much self-negotiated) with the Braves lasted 4 years at $9 million each.  Thinking out loud for a moment, I imagine that 2 years x $8 million should be enough to keep him… which includes his 39th and 40th years.  Personally, I think he has enough in the tank to do that.  I expect other clubs think so as well.

All it takes is money.

Let’s speculate further.  We on tomahawktake.com have been musing in recent weeks about an acquisition of David Price.  Having Tim Hudson in the rotation, in this writer’s opinion, would actually enhance the chances of being able to have the resources to go after him.

Really, Alan?  What on earth do you mean?

Having Hudson on board means there’s one extra major league ready arm available to use in a possible trade… whether David Hale, Alex Wood, … or somebody else.  It increases the surplus of arms and makes at least one more of them without a rotation slot.  Plus a rotation of Price, Hudson, Minor, Medlen, Teheran would look pretty formidable for a couple of years.

But now remove Hudson, and you have to introduce Wood or Hale (or another) full time.  Is that want the Braves want to do without a grizzled old veteran to assist “Don’t call me Blackjack” Roger McDowell in his tutelage?

Again, all it takes is money… okay, and a busload of prospects heading to St. Petersburg or Port Charlotte.

Since Hudson is opting to dip a toe into the waters of the free agency market, I imagine that this will take some time to play out.  Stay tuned…


P.S. – I was curious about this next point, and inquired to Mark Bowman about it.  He was kind enough to respond quickly:

Admittedly surprising to me that even that much is permitted – certainly the “exclusivity” part of that rule is being trampled upon whether finances are discussed or not.  I suppose that they send the managers out on these ‘job interviews’ instead of the GMs to keep up appearances.


Tags: Atlanta Braves Tim Hudson

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