The long-awaited announcement of Tim Hudson‘s new contract with the Braves has finally come. The terms guarantee Hudson $9 million a year over the next three seasons, plus a $1 million buyout of a team option for a fourth year. The fourth-year option also pays out $9 million, so the total value that could be paid out is $36 million over four years. The contract voids a $12 million option for 2010, that the Braves were likely going to buy out for $1 million.
Hudson is an interesting player. He’s ranged from good to dominant. He was really pitching some of his best baseball as a Brave right before his injury. The good news is that he pitched well in his return through 42 innings. With a full offseason to recover, I think there is good reason to believe that he will be back to normal; however, the injury risk may have reduced his value somewhat. I proceed to my valuation with this caveat.
If Hudson pitches as he did in 2007 and 2008 over the course of a full season, then he’ll be worth about $12.5 million per year over the next three seasons. Thus, it appears that Hudson is giving the hometown discount that he promised—smart move by Frank Wren and the Braves. This allows the Braves to trade one of its other starters (who will it be?) and still have pitching stability going into the future.
If you see Hudson out and about in the Atlanta area, be sure to say “thanks”—but, please, don’t pester him. Or, maybe throw a little support to the Hudson Family Foundation. He wants to be in Atlanta, and he has strengthened his club by doing so. It’s nice to have you on board for the long haul, Tim.