I couldn’t help but have a different take on Dave O’Brien’s Tim Hudson piece than Craig did this morning.
My take being that O’Brien should stick to writing about the Braves and give up trying to predict the free agent market.
There’s no doubt in my mind (Hudson would) take quite a bit less than $12 mill per season to stay here in a multi-year extension, probably less than $10 mill per. And I don’t think any other team would offer him even that much right now, not until he’s back for a full, healthy and strong season.
I’m not going to argue against the idea that Hudson would take less to stay in Atlanta. But the idea that Hudson will need to settle for less than $10 million or even $12 million per year is bizarre.
Let’s just look back at last year’s contracts for free agent starting pitchers:
CC Sabathia – seven years, $23 million per year
A.J. Burnett – five years, $16.5 million per year
Derek Lowe – four years, $15 million per year
Ryan Dempster – four years, $13 million per year
Oliver Perez – three years, $12 million per year
Kyle Lohse – four years, $10.25 million per year
Not one of those pitchers can match Hudson’s career 126 ERA+ (ERA adjusted for league and ballpark). Sabathia entered free agency at 121 and is at 123 now. Lowe was also at 121. Burnett, who has never had a season ERA+ as high as 126, came in at 111.
And this year’s class isn’t nearly as strong overall. Other than perhaps wild card Aroldis Chapman, who probably isn’t ready to be an asset now, I see only one starter as a better bet than Hudson on a long-term deal, that being John Lackey.
Even that’s iffy. So what if Hudson underwent Tommy John surgery. He made it back in excellent time, and he’s throwing just as hard now as he was before the procedure. His groundball rate is actually better than ever, though it’s a very small sample size. That he’ll end this year having only thrown 65 innings or so, in my opinion, only makes him a better bet for 2010.
Hudson has been a workhorse throughout his career, and there’s no reason to think he won’t recapture that form now that he has a new elbow ligament. I’d take my chances with him at $50 million-$56 million for four years over Lackey at $75 million-$80 million for five.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.