Today I saw this news story. Common sense would dictate that we get a free agent pitcher this year — we have Anderson back, but there’s at least a 50% chance of him breaking both of his legs during Spring Training. I’m partial to Kazmir and trying to get Colon back. Tim Hudson seems to be the name floating out there, though. The Braves didn’t give him a QO, so there’s no draft pick sacrificed. He’s old, and the A’s love ridiculously old pitchers. Besides, he was one of the key parts to the Moneyball teams that were so great! Let’s get the band back together and sign Zito too (vomits everywhere)!
Anyway, Tim Hudson. Signing him is probably a bad move.
First of all, it’s his age 38 season. I know we’re the A’s and we love our free agent pitchers with beer guts and grandchildren, but 38 is still old, and he’s coming off of a major injury of the kind that could linger and cause problems. I'm not saying it will, but it's a risk.
He’s also one of the most desired free agents on the market: this isn’t a geriatric Bartolo Colon being resurrected from baseball purgatory, this is a solid starting pitcher who’s been really solid for a really long time. He’s already gotten inquiries from 10 separate teams, with Cleveland and Kansas City showing the most interest.
This means bidding war. There’s just no way he’s going for a 1 year deal. If he did that, he’d be giving up free money for no particular reason — he’s not an aging veteran looking to build up his value, he’s a veteran looking to take advantage of the value he’s already built up. Would anyone want to give a 38 year old that much guaranteed money for future seasons? There’s a very real chance he pulls a Brett Anderson and whichever team he signs with is on the hook for 10 million per.
I'm predicting a 2 year, ~$18 million contract. The A's should not be the ones to sign that contract.
However, the biggest problem I see with Tim Hudson is how damn average he is now. Look at his past few years and you’ll see just how remarkably unremarkable he’s been: 103 FIP- in 2010, 89 FIP- in 2011, 98 FIP- in 2012, and 93 FIP- in 2013. Meaning his past 4 years, he's been a 96 FIP- pitcher: he's almost exactly league average, and remarkably consistent about being league average.
He's a C student. He's beige. He's Mumford and Sons. He's mashed potatoes. He's unseasoned oatmeal.
This is my main objection with Timmy: why would you make a guy who's really only remarkable for having a high floor the A's highest paid player?
There's no indication that he's due for a resurgence: this is who he is now. He doesn't have Bartolo Colon's magical control. He's already learned to pitch with lowered velocity. All he has going for him is a good sinker that's going to get less and less good.
Oh yeah, the sinker. Tim Hudson is an extreme groundball pitcher. As in, he has a 55.8% ground ball percentage, good for the tenth highest in the majors minimum 100 IP. So his incredibly average numbers are the result of an extreme groundball pitcher playing in front of Andrelton Simmons.
Imagine those groundballs going to Jed Lowrie.