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
“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.
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.