Tim Hudson has come back from a devastating injury before, even earning the 2010 National League Comeback Player of the Year Award after returning from Tommy John surgery he underwent in Aug. 2008.
I have no doubt that the 38-year-old right-hander will pitch again next season after breaking his ankle on July 24, but will the impending free agent do so for the Atlanta Braves?
I’ve been back and forth on this one, as I certainly want “Huddy” to return to the Braves, who he has been with since being acquired from the Oakland Athletics prior to the 2005 season.
When I take everything into account, though, I can’t help but feel that the veteran hurler will be back in a Braves uniform at the start of the 2014 season.
The club certainly isn’t hurting for pitching, but Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Kris Medlen are all 27 years old or younger and are the top three starters in the rotation. And given that rookie left-hander Alex Wood will likely fill the fourth or fifth spot next year, the Braves will find themselves in need of an experienced arm to round out their pitching staff.
Who better than old reliable Hudson?
Freddy Garcia and Paul Maholm are 37 and 31 respectively and will both be eligible for free agency as well, which to me makes Hudson — who has had more success over a longer period of time with the Braves — the best option. Plus, he wants to stay in Atlanta.
“I want to know if I’m healthy and I want to know that this thing’s right,” Hudson told George Henry of the Associated Press on Aug. 9. “If I am, then I think it’s — I know I’ll continue playing, but hopefully it’s here.”
And who could blame the Braves for choosing to go with the guy who has the eighth-best winning percentage in MLB history among pitchers with at least 275 career decisions?
Any time you find yourself on a list with the likes of Whitey Ford, Lefty Grove, Christy Mathewson and Lefty Gomez, you’re obviously doing something right.