Tim Hudson is probably coming back to Atlanta

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And that’s without the Braves even exercising his $12 million option, according to the AJC’s Dave O’Brien:

Huddy is a great teammate, beloved in the clubhouse, and he and his
wife do terrific stuff in the community through their foundation. They
have put down roots here, and have finally finished, or nearly
finished, the dream house they built in Auburn, where he went to school.

There’s no doubt in my mind he’d 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.

“No doubt in my mind,” says O’Brien. I know a reporter who will remain nameless who told me that the only time good reporters say stuff like that — and O’Brien is a good reporter — is when they have some inside dish that they can’t quite report yet. Makes them seem prescient, you know. My guess is that O’Brien is privy to some informal talks between Hudson and the Braves, or at the very least has had Hudson tell him that, damn skippy, he’s staying in Atlanta no matter what the Braves do with his option.

As O’Brien notes, that leaves the question of what to do about Javier Vazquez up in the air. The conventional wisdom this summer has been that the Braves keep either Hudson or Vazquez, not both.  As a Braves fan my hope would be both, because you can never have too much starting pitching (ask Boston). But there are worse things in the world to have a sub-$10 million Tim Hudson on the team and a near Cy Young-quality starter on the block to fill holes.

Either way, the 2010 Braves may be the early favorites in the NL East.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.