Tim Hudson, Braves talking contract extension

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Last week the Braves and Tim Hudson began discussing a contract extension and Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the two sides “plan to resume negotiations this week” on a deal “expected to be for at least three years” at more than $9 million per season.
For now he’s still technically under contract with a $12 million mutual option for 2010 and the Braves would likely be in favor of bringing the 34-year-old right-hander back on a one-year deal given that he’s just seven starts removed from Tommy John surgery.
However, Hudson has indicated that he’ll opt out in search of a multi-year pact after looking good down the stretch with a 3.61 ERA and 30/13 K/BB ratio in 42 post-surgery innings. Hudson has said previously that he’d take “a hometown discount” to remain in Atlanta, but that still probably means at least $30 million over three years.
When healthy he’s long been one of the better starters in baseball, but as the Braves have learned with Derek Lowe committing to a multi-year contract with any pitcher in his mid-30s is a gamble and Hudson’s elbow problems obviously make him an even bigger risk. Beyond that, with Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami, Javier Vazquez, and Lowe the Braves have perhaps the most rotation depth in the league.
They could definitely withstand losing Hudson and in fact re-signing him would almost surely mean trading away one of Lowe, Vazquez, or Kawakami. A decision on his mutual option for 2010 must be made within three days of the World Series ending, so if Hudson is going to remain in Atlanta it seems likely that a new deal will be struck this week.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.