"The Braves are interested in discussing a contract extension with Tim Hudson, and if they can make that work, they presumably will somehow fold the $12MM 2010 option into that deal."
If this is true, it's good news indeed. It seems increasingly clear that Hudson can still pitch at a high level, and he's definitely well-integrated into the Atlanta clubhouse and the Atlanta community. There are reasons for both sides to want to sign an extension for a few more years. And there are also rather compelling reasons for both sides to want to get a deal done sooner (i.e., before the end of the season) rather than later. For Hudson, with the economy in the tank and teams realizing financial losses after a tough attendance year, he might be better to sign before the winter's market gets established (presumably at a lower-than-usual level). For the Braves, having Hudson locked up long-term early gives some more certainty to a highly uncertain winter pitching picture.
In the best case scenario, the Braves would attempt to slightly defray the cost of Huddy's 2010 option as part of the terms of the extension. Perhaps something like three years and $30 million, where the first year of the deal replaces Hudson's $12 million 2010 option, and saves a couple million on the front end while adding security for Huddy on the back end? That would give some financial flexibility in a winter where budgets will likely be tight.
I won't put Hudson on a level with Chipper in terms of representing the franchise, but Hudson has certainly grown to be an integral part of the team since his acquisition. He's a guy I want to keep around, and getting a contract extension done early would save a lot of headaches for the team (and hopefully for Hudson as well).
Definitely a situation to keep an eye on.
EDIT: We now have an article up from Mark Bowman over at MLB.com as well, which has quotes from both Frank Wren and Tim Hudson on the topic. In very big news, Hudson even used the phrase--and I quote--"hometown discount," which can't be anything but music to the ears of Braves fans everywhere. Huddy says he is open to a reduction in his 2010 salary from the $12 million tag carried by his option, if he gets a few more years added to his deal. It seems clear that he likes Atlanta, and that, like Chipper, he might be willing to sacrifice some dollars to free up some payroll room for the Braves. Wren likewise expresses interest in keeping Huddy around. Again, this looks like it makes far too much sense for both sides.
What kind of terms do people think would be reasonable for a potential deal? Does my 3/30 proposal above make sense, if we assume that the first year of the extension supersedes his 2010 option?