Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/18/13
After nearly a decade in Atlanta, Tim Hudson is returning to the Bay Area. The 38-year old right-hander has agreed to a two-year deal with the Giants that will pay him $23 million, and his signing was first reported by Bay Area Sports Guy. In 2013, Hudson pitched to a 3.97 ERA over 131 1/3 innings and 21 starts. On July 24th, he broke his ankle in a grisly incident against the Mets, knocking him out for the rest of the regular season.  Hudson made $9 million in each of the last four years with the Braves. He was originally drafted by the Athletics, spending the first five years of his career with Oakland before being dealt to the Braves following the 2004 season. After Tommy John surgery in 2008, Hudson rebounded to throw 200 innings in both 2010 and 2011, and was on track to do the same in 2013 before his injury. Over the last seven years, he's posted a FIP above 4.00 just once and hasn't had an ERA above 4.00 during that same time period. Hudson will slot into Barry Zito's rotation spot in San Francisco behind the returning Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and Tim Lincecum. Fifth starter Ryan Vogelsong is a free agent after the Giants declined his $6.5 million option for 2014, but the club is optimistic about bringing him back. The Giants were apparently looking into Bronson Arroyo and Ricky Nolasco along with Hudson, but both wanted more money and years than Hudson. This signing now opens the door for Nolasco to make his heavily-rumored signing with the Twins. Now, how will Hudson fit into San Francisco's rotation? Hudson is much more of a ground ball pitcher than Cain, Bumgarner, or Lincecum, and that could be a problem given the Giants' infield defense. Brandon Crawford is good with the glove at short (though he's no Andrelton Simmons), while Brandon Belt is solid at first. But at third, Pablo Sandoval is wildly erratic (when in the lineup), and over at second, Marco Scutaro is trending downward. Then again, during his years in Atlanta, Hudson was able to thrive despite an infield defense that often included the lead-footed Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla. Bad defense playing behind him is nothing new. $23 million over two years seems like a lot of money, and it is. But when you consider how much money the Giants gave Lincecum and how much they paid Zito over the last seven years, it looks like a bargain for them. If Hudson can give the Giants 400 innings of 4.00 ERA ball over the next two years, I'm sure they'll be happy with their investment. But if Hudson struggles with his new club, in a new park with a new defense behind him, this contract could look like a sunk cost heading into 2015. [follow]
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