Tim Hudson will take a hometown discount to stay in Atlanta

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Either Tim Hudson is telling different things to different people, or else yesterday’s report that he’s rejecting his half of the mutual option was bogus.  This from Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who says that he was told the following by Hudson himself:
 

a. He has made it clear – which he did again – that he wants to stay here and will accept a “hometown discount” to stay with the Braves (long as his idea of such a discount isn’t entirely different than what the Braves have in mind); b. He wasn’t under the impression the Braves were or are planning to exercise that $12 million option anyway, so why would he have told someone that they are and that he’s gonna veto it?, and c. Even if they do exercise the option, he’s not sure he’d veto it.

None of that necessarily means that Hudson won’t leave town.  He still will likely talk to the Braves about multiple years instead of the option, which doesn’t seem to be in either his or the Braves’ interests.  He likewise gave himself an out by noting that “hometown discount” does not mean “bargain basement.”  But the overall impression from these statements is that he wants to stay in Atlanta.

Maybe the most interesting thing in the article is O’Brien saying that a three year deal running between nine and ten million a year would get a deal done. That seems low to me, and maybe counterproductive for Hudson.  If he’d take that, it means he really wants to stay in Atlanta.  But it’s a reasonable enough deal that Hudson would be an attractive trading chit in the event of anything other than strong contention by the Braves over that time, thereby increasing the odds that he’d, you know, not stay in Atlanta.  Hudson knows that, I’m sure, so he’d ask for a no-trade clause.  Which the Braves have a team policy against offering.  All of that makes for a tricky negotiation.

But obviously, if a team wants a player and a player wants a team, it’s much better to start off talking reasonable dollars rather than unreasonable dollars, and if O’Brien is right, that’s what’s happening here.

My guess: there will be a lot of back and forth on this over the next couple of months but, ultimately, Hudson will be in a Braves’ uniform next season.

The Nationals sign Kevin Jepsen

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Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports the Nationals have agreed to terms with free agent reliever Kevin Jepsen.

Think of this as the latest in what will likely be a series of no-risk bullpen additions. The Nats, basically, collecting as many almost free arms they can find in an effort to fix their bullpen woes without having to give up anything valuable at the trade deadline. Just like the K-Rod signing earlier this week or the Edwin Jackson signing two weeks ago.

Jepsen pitched for Tampa Bay and Minnesota last year, posting a 5.68 ERA with the Rays and a 6.16 ERA with the Twins, appearing in 58 games in all. He went unsigned this past offseason.

Eh, it might work. It probably won’t, but it might.

Rival Executives Expect Justin Verlander To Hit The Trading Block

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About a month ago, a report circulated that if the Detroit Tigers weren’t above .500 by the end of June, they were going to chuck the season, look to trade off veterans and rebuild. It’s now June 29 and the Tigers are 34-42 and sit six games out of first place.

As such, we should not be too terribly surprised to see a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo that multiple baseball executives expect Tigers ace Justin Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in the next two weeks. Passan notes that the Tigers haven’t formally offered him and that he’s just passing along speculation from rivals, but it’s pretty astute speculation.

The question is what the Tigers can get for Verlander. On the one hand, yes, Verlander is Verlander and has been one of the top starters in baseball for a decade. While he had struggled for a bit, last year featured a return to Cy Young form. He still has a blazing fastball and there is no reason to think he could not anchor the staff of a playoff caliber team.

On the other hand, as Passan notes, his 2017 has been . . . not so good. He looks amazing at times and very hittable at other times. Overall his walk rate is way up and his strikeout rate is down. There doesn’t appear to be anything physically wrong with him — various ailments contributed to his 2014-15 swoon — so it’s possible he’s just had a rough couple of months. Like I said, Verlander is Verlander, and it may not be a bad gamble to expect him to run off a string of dominant starts like he has so many times in the past.

The problem, though, is that anyone acquiring Verlander is not just gambling on a handful of starts down the stretch. They’re gambling on the $56 million he’s owed between 2018 and 2019 and the $22 million extra he’ll be guaranteed for 2020 if he finishes in the top five in Cy Young voting in 2019. Those would be his age 35, 36 and 37 seasons. There are certainly worse gambles in baseball, but it’s a gamble all the same.

If the Tigers don’t find any gamblers out there on the market, they’re going to have to make a gamble of their own: let Verlander go and get relatively little in return if another club picks up that $56 million commitment or eat it themselves and get prospects back in return to help kickstart a rebuild. Personally I’d go with the latter option, but I don’t work for the Illitch family.