The Chronicle's John Shea says it may happen.
I'm going to go on record right now and say that it will happen. Tim Hudson will be traded prior to the 2005 season.
Hudson didn't help his cause by setting a deadline of March 1 for a new deal to be in place.
But the biggest telling sign isn't the speculation by Shea or anyone else, but this:
Beane hasn't said word one to Hudson, either way. That tells me that Billy is going to move Huddy. I don't want to lose Hudson, but as I've mentioned before, he's way too valuable to lose for draft picks after the season.
But above all the myriad of reasons why this may be true, one is key to remember more than any other. I think that the A's believe Rich Harden is going to be better than Hudson. Maybe not immediately, but Harden is on the edge of greatness and his ascension to that level is what makes it even possible to consider trading a talent like Hudson.
So, I'm on record saying that Tim Hudson will not be wearing an A's uniform in 2005. It'll be tragic to lose Huddy, but if Billy gets young, cheap talent in return which vastly improves our offense and a starting pitcher, it improves the long-term outlook for the green and gold (since it sounds like the A's cannot afford to keep Hudson after the next season). Beane may back out at the last second because trading a talent like Hudson can come back to haunt you, but I don't think so. Billy is going to do what's right for the long-term health of the franchise. And with the budget restrictions Oakland has, spending the majority of your payroll on three players (Chavez, Kendall and possibly Hudson) doesn't make much sense.
Or maybe Billy trades Hudson to upgrade the offense, then signs one of the free agent starters out there like Millwood (coming off a down year - possible undervalued talent, but the concerns about his health are great) as stop-gap to some of younger pitchers in the organization like Windsor, Knox or someone else.
Regardless, it'll be a sad day when Hudson leaves.