In 2005 the Atlanta Braves signed then free agent right handed pitcher Tim Hudson to a nine year contract. When they did so, they hoped he would spend a long time with the team and become the seasoned veteran that the franchise was going to need with the approaching retirement of the “Big Three” Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smotlz. Hudson has come through in every possible way he was supposed to and the franchise and its fans could not have been more pleased.
The only problem is that this is year number nine that is about to start in Atlanta. Hudson figures to have a few years left in the tank and is still pitching very well with usually somewhere around fifteen to twenty wins and an ERA hovering around the low threes. He is still plenty capable of logging two-hundred innings or extremely close to it. Interestingly enough, in this situation with Hudson and the Braves, the problem main concern is the same on both sides of the argument.
The choices obviously will be either to sign Hudson to an extension that would take him through the final years of his career or not. On one hand the Braves have a ton of young talented pitching that will be only getting closer to being ready for a big league spot in 2014. It might make sense to set the veteran free in order to make room for a younger arm. On the other hand however, the presence of a good veteran is a key to any pitching rotation on any team. Which way should the team go?
Obviously some of it will depend on Hudson’s performance living up to what he is still capable of. So much more of it goes beyond that however. He is a leader not only on the mound but in the clubhouse. From the first day he arrived he has been one of the top practical jokers on the team. He lightens the mood while displaying by example the right way to play the game. I think Hudson will be more than valuable enough to keep around. Here’s hoping he goes out and wins the Cy-Young award this season to make the decision that much easier.