#18: Tim Hudson (by bledsoe)

See the 44 Greatest Atlanta Braves here.

No. 18: Tim Hudson
RH Starting Pitcher
Braves Seasons: 2005-2013
113-72; 3.56 ERA, 115 ERA+, 1.242 WHIP, 1573 IP

Hudson, like McCann, didn’t make the Original List due to not meeting minimum career length. In 2007, Mac said that if he revised the list, Hudson would probably need to debut somewhere in the thirties just based on his then-existing body of work. But in Mac’s 2011 e-book update, after several additional good years, Hudson was added at 18.5, between Millwood and Felipe Alou. Subsequent to that, Hudson went out and had another good year in 2012, going 16-7 with a 3.62 ERA. He was also pitching decently in 2013 (8-7 with a 1.188 WHIP) when he suffered a fairly gruesome leg injury covering first, when Eric Young landed full stride on his ankle. He never pitched for the Braves again.

Another Georgia boy, Huddy was born in Columbus but grew up in Alabama. He first attended his local juco, then went on to Auburn. At Auburn he was a two-way player (outfielder), and he won college baseball’s equivalent of the Heisman, the Rotary Smith award, in 1997, after going 15-2 with a 2.97 ERA while also hitting .396. A sixth round draftee of the Athletics, he became part of their “Big Three” with Zito and Mulder, which included a 20-6 year in 2000. (Seriously, what’s up with that? The guy voted best player in college baseball goes in the sixth round?)

His Atlanta stats make him fifth in wins and fifth in IP, behind Niekro and the Big Three. His W-L percentage is again fifth for Atlanta pitchers with more than 500 IP. He is in my view slightly underappreciated by the average Atlanta fan, still spoiled and drunk on the lees of the Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz cocktail we all had been guzzling for the previous decade. He had one anomalous year in 2006, 13-12 with an ERA near 5. Throw out that year and he’s 100-60 with a 3.35 ERA as a Brave. He was pretty darn good.

The Braves signed him as a free agent traded for him before the 2005 season. For a couple of years, he served as our No. 2 behind Smoltz, until he blew out his elbow in 2008 and needed Tommy John. He missed virtually all of 2009, and thereafter was the linchpin of the staff for the next four years. His best year was 2010, 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA, winning NL Comeback Player of the Year.

His athleticism allowed him to perform occasionally as a pinch-runner or pinch-hit; he hit .173 for his Atlanta career. Tim had an aura of tenaciousness, a bulldog mentality. He just gave off the vibe that he would do almost anything to win that particular game.

So where does he stand now? He was a very good pitcher, but obviously at least a full notch below the Big Three. He won’t make the Hall of Fame. But he threw a lot of quality innings for us, pounding the zone with that lovely sinker. I would move him up from Mac’s slotting at 18.5, based on his 2012 and 2013 seasons, to new No. 17, above Jeff Blauser and below No. 16 Darrell Evans (now bumped down one slot by BMac.) That may be low by a slot or two– but the reason I put him here is that I know Mac would not let him be above Darrell Evans.

43 thoughts on “#18: Tim Hudson (by bledsoe)”

  1. Re, the Wieters comments from the last thread. Here’s my reasoning for saying it would be a bad signing for us:

    He will likely be expensive and for a long time, and I wouldn’t wager he is going to be very good for very long (both because of injuries and decline). I think it would be like the Dan Uggla signing all over again. We just can’t obligate a large fraction of our payroll to guys in their declines. That was the reasoning behind not signing McCann, and frankly, McCann had far fewer question marks than Wieters, less injury history, more success, and more fan appeal.

    None of this is to say Wieters was not a very good player in the not too distant past or that he has nothing left. I would be very interested in a 1-year “prove it” deal for him in the realm of the QO that could put us in a position to trade him or get a pick for him, but that’s an unlikely scenario as I see it.

  2. @3

    I think those are very valid concerns if you compare his situation to McCann’s. McCann signed a 5/$85M deal, and I doubt Wieters even gets close. After an injury-filled 2014, he signed a 1/$8.3M contract for 2015 to probably try to improve his attractiveness, but obviously that didn’t work. I wouldn’t be surprised if he signed a one or two year deal for around $9-10M per year to try to get his career back on track.

    @1

    Zobrist and/or Gordon would be great for this team. Put Gordon in left, or Zobrist at 2B or LF, and we get much better quickly. I really like Ben Zobrist too. He’d be a fan favorite in Atlanta.

  3. AAR,

    I know and remember Mac having a high appreciation of and for Darrell Evans. I concur to the point that he is probably to me the one 3B not in HOF that most deserves to be there.

    But, I also thought this is “production for the Braves provided that you were in Atlanta for at least 3 years.” I don’t think Evans Atlanta career was that good.

    (Great treatment of Hudson, by the way.)
    Am I missing something?

  4. I would like Wieters for 2 yrs and 16-20 mil, yes. I don’t see him signing for so little, but it would be an awfully good gamble for us.

  5. Mac’s appreciation for Evans was a little over the top in my book. He was the sabermetricians’ player — lots of walks, low BA, high OBP, good fielder, long career. Mac loved him.

    Evans is in my opinion too high in Mac’s list of the 44, but as I said at the outset, I’m not revisiting his rankings, just trying to slot the new guys in where they belong. Hudson falls pretty much in here I think.

    I’d encourage you to read Mac’s writeup of Evans in his list to see if he can convince you.

  6. Agree that Wieters is a good buy-low gamble. As long as the price is also low. Camden Yards is a bandbox compared to Turner Field so his power numbers probably won’t translate. But he has to be better than Bethancourt, right?

  7. Gotta love Hudson. He was quite the horse and leader. I fear his appreciation is slightly diminished because of the expectation of the “ace” in the post-Big Three era.

    Another great write-up. Thanks Bledsoe.

  8. Didn’t we trade for Hudson rather than sign him as a FA? Charles Thomas or something like that?

  9. Yeah, acquired for Charles Thomas, Dan Meyer and Juan Cruz.

    Meanwhile, to acquire Mark Mulder, the Cards gave up Dan Haren, Kiko Calero, and Daric Barton.

  10. Didn’t really keep up with Charles Thomas’ career after leaving Atlanta, but… he began the 2005 season in Oakland 5 for 46, then got demoted & never returned to The Show.

    Talk about selling high…

  11. Charles Thomas was like Hurricane Hazel from the ’57 Milwaukee Braves. He had a remarkable 2004 then never did anything again. He platooned with Eli Marrero, who also had a career year.

  12. I think Beane knew Thomas was a throw-in. Meyer was the supposed prize, but he got hurt, as pitching prospects sometimes do. But Cruz was no slouch — he was a good pitcher for us who continued to be a good pitcher. He was a starting prospect for the Cubs but he couldn’t stick in the starting rotation; still, he had a 12-year career as a reliever. Sadly, his one year with Oakland was the worst of his career.

  13. That’s pretty close to how I recall it. Cruz just finished his first year as a reliever instead of a starter and looked pretty good. For whatever reason Meyer was considered to be something of a get, and was expected to compete for a spot in the a starting rotation the next year. Although even at the time, my memory is that nobody here thought any of those guys was going to be all that much.

  14. IIRC, I think we thought Meyer would be good, but he certainly wasn’t a Wainwright, in terms of the heartburn it caused us to lose him. Then again, JS had a long track record of selling high on pitching prospects other than Wainwright, so I think we mostly trusted him. Hudson was also a good get for us because there was a pretty high likelihood he’d sign a team-friendly extension — the only kind that JS ever gave out — since he was a local boy. And that’s exactly what happened.

  15. I think that’s what helps people’s opinion of Hudson too. We didn’t have to sell the farm a la Tex to get him.

  16. I think Mac is watching over us right now. I got a weekly digest email from him at midnight. I’m going to setup a bunch of emails to go out after I’m gone to mess with my family.

  17. Hudson might deserve to rank higher in the Braves pantheon when you also factor in ‘still a douche’

  18. Screw the Mets, I hope the Royals sweep them.

    They got swept in their last World Series too (2000). I wonder what the record for most World Series games lost in a row is.

  19. The Toronto Blue Jays, after having suffered through more than 20 straight miserable seasons, only to field for the second half of this year, and against all expectations, the most dominant and exciting team in baseball, and I would argue in recent memory, decided to alienate the chief architect of that turnaround, merely to promote Mark Shapiro. Institutional stupidity never fails to amaze.

  20. To put what the Blue Jays have done in perspective. That team could pay Anthopoulos’ salary for the next decade, and the marginal cost of all the salaries he picked up in trades, just with the revenues the team earns from selling t-shirts depicting Bautista’s bat flip.

    The corporation that owns the Blue Jays, Rogers, recently surprised investors with unexpectedly large quarterly profits that it admits are owed solely to fans’ interest in the Blue Jays. Unbelievable.

  21. I guess it is possible that Anthopoulos has greener pastures in sight, but read this article from 3 days ago. It is all couched in “If this happens… ” but it sounds to me like the author must have known this was going to happen, and once you take away all the “ifs” the guy is really taking a baseball bat to the Blue Jays.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/baseball/kelly-blue-jays-must-mend-track-record-re-sign-alex-anthopoulos/article26996693/

  22. For those of us who live in Toronto this is going to turn into a truly entertaining shitshow. The first shots have already been fired:

  23. @40,41

    Hold on while I make some popcorn.

    What the public really wants to know is how Rob Ford is going to fix it.

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