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40 Players in 40 Days: Tim Hudson

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We've had some discussion about ol' Tim Hudson here at Chop-n-Change over the past days, as there have been rumblings that the Braves are looking to reach some kind of multi-year contract extension with a guy that's really become an integral part of the Braves' clubhouse (not to mention rotation).  There's little doubt that Hudson's made a complete recovery from his Tommy John surgery; check out his numbers before and after:

2008: 5.39 K/9, 2.54 BB/9, 0.70 HR/9
2009: 5.34 K/9, 2.37 BB/9, 0.59 HR/9

It's actually almost uncanny that his performance is that similar even though those numbers are separated by a year and a major elbow surgery.  I have no doubt that he'll be worth every penny of his $12 million mutual option for 2010, and Frank Wren would be foolish to decline that option when Hudson will bring no draft-pick compensation if he becomes a free agent.  Beyond that, Hudson appears to want to stay in Atlanta, where his community service efforts have drawn great praise, and he's even used the words "hometown discount" when talking about any potential contract negotiations between him and the team.

His style of pitching ought to age pretty well, and I see little reason why the Braves wouldn't want to lock him up for a few more seasons, especially if an extension could reduce the immediate cost of Hudson for 2010 and thus achieve some more payroll flexibility right away.  Expect to see #15 near the top of the starting pitching depth chart for the Braves next spring.

The bottom line: Even after surgery, he's still the same old Tim Hudson, and hopefully the Braves recognize an opportunity to lock up a rotation asset beyond 2010.

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