Giants Sign Tim Hudson: The Price is Right, What About the Arm?

Former Atlanta Braves starter Tim Hudson will be in the San Francisco Giants starting rotation in 2014 and 2015.

The thirty-eight year old veteran just signed a two-year $23 million contract with the Giants, and it's a very good financial deal for San Francisco. It also helps GM Brian Sabean, who is in the middle of a pretty important little project– trying to rebuild the Giants' traditional #1 product brand, starting pitching.

As it stands, the San Francisco starting rotation now has a #1 starter– Madison Bumgarner; a #2-3 starter– Matt Cain; a #4 starter– Tim Hudson; and a (maybe) #5 starter– Tim Lincecum. Let's see, that leaves…      

Anyway, back to Tim Hudson.

Tim Hudson was drafted by the Oakland As in the 6th round of the 1997 draft and pitched in Oakland for six years. Barry Zito joined Hudson in the A's starting rotation for five of those years. Hudson spent the last nine years with the Braves, winning 16 or more games four times.

Hudson made the ALDS with Oakland four times (2000-2003) and the NLDS with Atlanta twice (2005, 2010). In Game 3 of the 2010 NLDS Hudson held the Giants to 1 unearned run through eight innings before Atlanta lost 3-2.

Tim Hudson put up some nice numbers the past two years– in 2012 a 1.207 WHIP and  2.4 walks per 9 innings, and in 2013 a 1.188 WHIP and 2.5 BB/9.  He went 24-14 the last two seasons, and looks good to rebound after an ankle fracture ended his 2013 season in July.

The economics of the Hudson deal provide a much clearer perspective on two other recent Giant contractual moves: the ridiculous two year $35 million deal the team gave Tim Lincecum, and their smart decline of Ryan Vogelsong's equally ridiculous $6.5 million club option. Save a little, throw a bunch into the recycling bin and move on.     

The huge decision remaining for Brian Sabean and Giants ownership is whether they go out and get the top starting pitcher this team needs to make the postseason and win in the playoffs, or whether they settle for yet another #4 starter at a good price.

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