He won 113 games as part of the Atlanta Braves and he is now starting his 16th total season as a major league player. However, when Tim Hudson departed from the Braves, people believed that the starting rotation would suffer from a lack of veteran leadership and, well, a good pitcher.
That’s not going to be the case in 2014. If you look at what their rotation did last season, Hudson had the second highest ERA of pitchers who started at least 20 games for the team with a 3.97 mark. Starting in 10 games less than Kris Medlen, Hudson gave up 58 earned runs compared to Medlen’s 68. Would the Braves like to have him back? Sure. Do they think that losing him hurts the team? Not as bad as some believe.
When it comes to losing Hudson, one of the most important things is his veteran leadership. The team will lose 15 years of experience and a man that was part of one of the more dominant starting pitching staffs in Oakland Athletics history with himself, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. The team has seemingly replaced that veteran presence with Freddy Garcia. Does he replace what Hudson could do? There’s no knowing. Hudson has his sinker working for him and Garcia hasn’t started more than 20 games since 2011. If he pitches like he did at the end of 2013 for the Braves, he will surprise a lot of people this season.
At the end of the day, Garcia can give the Braves 15-20 starts and possibly win 6-9 of those, while still giving the team the veteran leadership that they lost in Hudson. Regardless of his absence, the starting rotation is going to have a stellar season in 2014 and surprise many baseball watchers.