We learned yesterday that the World Champion Red Sox have strong interest in Tim Hudson, but they are going to have plenty of competition.
According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies are among “as many as 15 teams” who have expressed interest in the veteran right-hander. Luring free agents to pitch at Coors Field can be a challenge, so Renck speculates that they would likely have to overpay to bring him aboard.
Coming off season-ending ankle surgery, Hudson is said to be looking for something in the range of two years and $24 million, though the price tag could rise depending on how the market plays out. He did not receive a qualifying offer from the Braves, so teams won’t have to worry about giving up a draft pick to sign him.
The Red Sox still look like the early favorite here, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote yesterday that Hudson is close with David Ross and other members of the team. At 38 years old, he also wants to be in position to win a ring, which is something that the Rockies can’t offer right now.
The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.
Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.
Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.