Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Logic of Tim Hudson?

Looks like the free agent market is about to add another big name pitcher-Tim Hudson:
"Barring a last-minute, knockout offer from the Braves, right-hander Tim Hudson plans to become a free agent, according to major-league sources.

Hudson's contract with the Braves includes a $12 million mutual option for 2010. If Hudson declined his end of the deal, he would be free to negotiate with any team."
All along we have been led to believe that Hudson loved Atlanta and was wanted to stay there. But it seems that this decision is purely business. There are a few reasons why Hudson would choose to opt out:

1. Less competition on the market

-As Rosenthal notes, the only true top flight starting pitcher on the market is John Lackey, who has injury concerns of his own. If Hudson became a free agent at the end of next season, he would have been competing with Josh Beckett, Cliff Lee, Ted Lilly, Roy Halladay, Brandon Webb, and Javier Vazquez. That's quite an impressive list. From that perspective, Hudson made a wise choice to opt out this year.

2. Money
-Obviously if Hudson opted out his contract, then he believes that he is due for a big time pay raise from the 1 year/$12 million dollar pact he had with Atlanta. The early predictions seem to predict that Hudson will indeed be handsomely paid:

-Circling the Bases: 4 years/$50 million
-fangraphs: "A three or four year deal at around $10 million per season"

But my question to the baseball world is this: why? Why is Hudson entitled to such a big contract? I understand that Hudson has fantastic career numbers and in his prime he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. But right now, Hudson is a 34 year old former ace, who has not completed a full season since 2007 and is coming off Tommy John surgery. Is this a pitcher that you would want to commit 3-4 year too?

Yes, Hudson's velocity and movement were impressive during his seven starts this season with the Braves, but should seven starts translate into a big money deal for Hudson? That's quite a risk to take.

And finally, let's return to the free agent market. For the life of me, I cannot understand how a 34 year old Hudson gets 3-4 years/$10 mil annually when 30 year old Erik Bedard, an injury prone ace, is likely to be forced to take a one year deal. Does that make any sense? Hudson is the older pitcher. Hudson is the one coming off Tommy John. If anything, Bedard is less of a risk than Hudson and he has the makeup (if healthy, of course) to be an ace for years to come.

Thoughts on Tim Hudson?

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