Finally the Pirates have made a move this offseason, inking reliever Daniel Hudson to a two-year/$11M deal. Hudson can also make another $1.5M per year in incentives based on the number of games finished.
Hudson appeared in 70 games out of the bullpen in 2016 with the Diamondbacks, finishing with a 5.22 ERA in 60.1 innings. The 5.22 ERA is misleading as he posted a 3.81 FIP and an 8.7 K/9. He actually had a 1.55 ERA on June 21 before giving up 26 earned runs in the next 9.2 innings to ruin his ERA (two of those outings were in Coors Field). Hudson then finished the season with just four earned runs in his last 21.2 innings.
Hudson came up as a starter through the White Sox organization before being dealt to Arizona (for Edwin Jackson, lol) and found his niche as a reliever. He’s undergone two Tommy John surgeries, but has put together two solid seasons of 60+ innings in the past two years. He’ll be 30 years old on Opening Day.
I like the pickup as the Pirates bring in more depth to the bullpen. Hudson joins a crowded group of relievers in the bullpen that includes Tony Watson, Antonio Bastardo, Felipe Rivero, Juan Nicasio, Jared Hughes, Wade LeBlanc, Tyler Webb and A.J. Schugel among others. This signing most likely means the end for one of the lefty relievers as either Antonio Bastardo or Tony Watson will be traded at some point this offseason.
Also, with Hudson featuring a high velocity fastball right up there with Rivero, could we see Hudson with a chance to close games out? And more to what I’ve been campaigning for, maybe a closer by committee with Watson/Hudson/Rivero all getting chances to save based on the situation? I hope Clint Hurdle puts away the “old school” mentality and figures out that not just one guy can pitch in the 9th inning. I believe that would be their best chance for success at the back end of the bullpen. Don’t put the pressure of closing all on one guy. Mix it up and play it by situation.
I could see Hudson improving based on his encouraging FIP along with the Uncle Ray effect and this deal working out nicely similar to Neftali Feliz this past year only with an opportunity to close games out in 2017. Oh, and the Pirates spent money! That’s all the Yinzers ever seem to want.
The Pirates will have to make a move to add Hudson on the 40-man roster as it’s full with the addition of Brady Dragmire back.