Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote an article about Tim Hudson recently that portrayed the Giants right-hander as bitter at the Braves after leaving Atlanta as a free agent this offseason, but now Hudson wants everyone to know that he’s not bitter at all.
Hudson told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that reading Nightengale’s piece “kind of made me feel sick most of yesterday, because that is not the way I felt after the whole process played out.”
Instead, here’s how Hudson describes his parting ways with the Braves after nine seasons in Atlanta:
After the initial offer and all of that, it ended up not being a slap in the face. But initially, it looked like we were not going to go anywhere. The Braves made a push, but we were just too far down the line with the Giants. I still keep up with the Braves like I have my whole life. I still have a lot of great friends in that clubhouse. I can’t say I don’t still pull for them, because I do, except for when we’re playing them.
Bowman notes that the Braves initially made a one-year, $2 million offer to Hudson, which was pretty insulting considering he eventually got $23 million over two years from the Giants, but apparently Atlanta’s offer to the Georgia native gradually increased.
Hudson is thriving in San Francisco, seamlessly returning from a gruesome ankle injury to go 6-2 with a 1.75 ERA and 50/8 K/BB ratio in 77 innings for the Giants at age 38.
We wrote a lot about Casey Kelly on this site circa 2010-12.
It was understandable. Kelly was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors, with some people even wondering if he could do it full time. The Sox put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, as he became the top overall prospect in the Boston organization as a pitcher. He then made news when he was sent to San Diego — along with Anthony Rizzo — in the famous Adrian Gonzalez trade in December 2010.
He made his big league debut for the Padres in late August of 2012, holding a pretty darn good Atlanta Braves team scoreless for six innings, striking out four. He would pitch in five more games in the season’s final month to not very good results but missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery.
He wouldn’t make it back to the bigs until 2015 — pitching only three games after being converted to a reliever — before the Padres cut him loose, trading him to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt who, like a younger Kelly, the Padres thought could be a two-way player, catching and relieving. That didn’t work for him either, but I digress.
Kelly made a career-high ten appearances for a bad Braves team in 2016, was let go following the season and was out of the majors again in 2017 after the Cubs released him a couple of months after he failed to make the team out of spring training. He resurfaced with the Giants this past season for seven appearances. The Giants cut him loose last month.
Now Kelly’s journey takes him across the ocean. He announced on Instagram last night that he’s signed with the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. He seems pretty happy and eager about it in his little video there. I don’t blame him, as he’ll make $1 million for them, as opposed to staying here and almost certainly winding up in a Triple-A rotation making $60K or whatever it is veteran minor leaguers make.
This was probably way too many words to devote to a journeyman heading to play in Korea, but we so often forget top prospects once they fail to meet expectations. We also tend to forget all of the Tommy John casualties, focusing instead on the Tommy John successes. As such, I wanted to think a bit about Casey Kelly. I hope things work out well for him in the KBO and a baseball player who once seemed so promising can, after a delay, find success of his own.