Here’s a really nice gesture from veteran right-hander Tim Hudson, who left the Braves earlier this week when he agreed to a two-year, $23 million contract with the Giants.
Hudson decided to submit a letter to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in order to say thanks to the Braves and the fans for making him and his family feel welcome during his nine seasons in Atlanta. The entire letter is not free — you’ll find it behind a paywall — but feel free to read a couple of paragraphs below.
“When I was traded from the Oakland A’s to the Atlanta Braves before the 2005 season, a childhood dream was realized. I grew up a Braves fan just a few hours south of Atlanta, and it was hard for me to believe that I was going to actually play for the Atlanta Braves and legendary manager Bobby Cox. My family was young. We had a toddler (Kennedie), a baby (Tess), and a baby on the way (Kade). We were welcomed into the Braves organization with open arms. Our son was born two weeks into my first season, and our journey began. The Atlanta Braves are really all that our children know about this crazy baseball life, and we are so thankful for this upbringing for them.”
“And to the city of Atlanta and the amazing fans in all of Braves country…my deepest thanks. Braves fans are one-of-a-kind. Your passion to win comes close to equaling that of the players that go out on the field each and every game. But when the team goes through rough patches, you’re there to encourage and cheer and believe that things will turn around. In my 9 seasons, we definitely had some very high moments and some extremely disappointing moments. But one thing that I learned is this – once a Braves fan, always a Braves fan. No matter what. And as a player, that means more than you could understand.”
Classy stuff. Hudson has strong ties to Georgia and Alabama, so he’ll surely continue to have a presence in the area.
Hudson went 113-72 with a 3.56 ERA during his time with the Braves. He made one All-Star appearance in 2010.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.