Posted: 11:28 am Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Did the Braves ‘slap’ Tim Hudson in the face? 

By Mark Bradley

The shirt fit then: Hudson in 2004. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The shirt fit then: Hudson in 2004. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

I don’t know exactly what the Atlanta Braves offered Tim Hudson last fall. Let’s assume it wasn’t the $23 million over two seasons that the Giants gave him, or else he wouldn’t have seen the need to play elsewhere. He made $9 million in 2013, in which he posted a 3.97 ERA — his highest in any season since 2006, his second in Atlanta — before his ankle was broken in New York.

The Braves declined to make Hudson a qualifying offer, which would have been valued at $14.1 million — exactly what the Braves wound up paying Ervin Santana in March — and would have been way too high for a pitcher who’ll turn 39 in July and who was coming off a so-so, albeit truncated, season. (My guess in November was that the Braves would offer Hudson $8 million for one more year’s service.)

As noted, the Giants bought him for $11 million in 2014 with $12 million due next season. That was higher than the Braves could, or should, have paid. If Hudson can’t see that now, it’s because he’s looking back with his heart and not his head.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today quotes Hudson as saying: “It was made pretty clear to me that the Braves didn’t want me back. After what I’d done for them, it was kind of a slap in the face.”

Nightengale also reports that Hudson was so miffed by the Braves’ offer that “he didn’t bother to counter.”

Hudson had, let’s recall,accepted something of a hometown discount when he re-upped for the 2010 through 2013 seasons. But the Braves, as of November 2013, had to prioritize. They had Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Brandon Beachy to comprise 80 percent of their rotation, with Alex Wood positioned to take a regular turn soon. They also had Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman and Craig Kimbrel about to hit arbitration. (They also had — and have still — the regrettable contracts of B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla in place.)

As much as the Braves would have liked Hudson as rotational insurance, their considered decision was that he was less a priority than placating Heyward and locking up Freeman and Kimbrel (and Andrelton Simmons and Teheran, too). Their veteran insurance came in the form of Gavin Floyd, who signed for one season at $4 million.

At the time, the Braves had no way of knowing that Medlen and Beachy would be lost to bum elbows in the span of 24 spring-training hours. And there’s no denying that Hudson has been superb with the Giants: He’s 6-2 with an ERA of 1.75. But to suggest the Braves didn’t make a serious attempt to keep him depends, I guess, on your definition of “serious.”

David O’Brien reported in November that the Braves “made an initial one-year offer for significantly less than he made in 2013, then increased that to a two-year proposal in the past week. But the dollars weren’t comparable to what San Francisco offered.”

And here’s what Hudson, per DOB, said then: “The Braves made a really good push (with the increased offer). They did the best they could. Frank (Wren) was great.”

So how did the “really good push” become a slap in the face? Because Hudson is 6-2 and not 2-6?

We can fault the Braves and Wren for many things, contractually speaking, but I don’t think we can blame them because San Francisco paid $23 million for a pitcher who’ll be 40 when the contract lapses. (And who has had, we must note, a history of injury not including the ankle.) It’s unfortunate Hudson’s feelings got ruffled — he was a good Brave. But it’s odd that the sting of the alleged slap took so long to register.

Update: As Carroll Rogers now reports, Hudson has backtracked, going the time-honored “taken-out-of-context” route and saying he has no hard feelings toward the Braves.

48 comments
Wilbo
Wilbo

I think it would be hilarious if the Giants stomped the Braves flat in October and Hudson was a big part of that. Of course, it takes very little to stomp the Braves flat in October...

Birdhair
Birdhair

What really blows my mind is that Wren is incapable of properly managing a middle market budget. Do I think keeping McCann or Hudson would have been a good use of funds? No, probably not. Defintely not McCann, but Hudson maybe. The point is that Wren constantly ties his own hands with ludicrious contracts to mediocre players. KK, Lowe, Uggla, BJ...approximately $215M wasted and all on long-term deals. Paying Hudson, a veteran and proven ace $23M, is a certainly a better gamble than throwing $75M at a loser on the downtrend like B.J. Wren doesnt give himself a chance to work a deal because all of our funds are tied up in losers and on long-term deals. Making an offer to Hudson is rarely a matter of choice.It's almost always a foregone conclusion that the player walks because Wren has spent poorly.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

This whole fiasco is a great example of why MLB needs more doubleheaders and fewer off-days.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

MikeS777.......obviously you can't judge playing talent if your not able to see his defensive abilities.  He has all-star talent in right field.

ChefTimDix
ChefTimDix

Not to disrepsect Huddy but I doubt any check cut by the Braves and deposited by him was returned insufficent funds. Right move by the Braves and good move for Huddy.

chem
chem

Low balling a young 20-something at the outset of the career is one thing, but how much money does one person truly need?  If well invested, his family won't have to worry about money for countless generations. The cost of living is at least double in SF, and I doubt Hudson even took that into consideration.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Something was likely said or was rumored to have been said since the Braves made their offer.  I believe Huddy's family is still in ATL which would make this kind of occurrence even more plausible. 

RangeRover
RangeRover

"After what I’d done for them..."

And, Tim, what did they do for you?  Of course, had you been retained and were now 2-6 with a 5+ era I'm sure, Tim, you'd offer to refund some of your contract, right?

Good riddance. 

58Supersports
58Supersports

We can fault the Braves and WREN for many things, contractually  speaking, and many other ways. I have no respect for Wren, his decisions has cost Braves  millions in money  and games with his sorry players. He would have been fired anywhere else except  the white house...Hudson "was" a Super Brave and I wish him luck.

Getting_Older
Getting_Older

I don't fault the Braves.  Huddy should remember they let Maddux walk away when he got old and over priced.  If you want to talk about someone who did a lot for the Bravo's, while I liked Hudson, he can't compare to Mad Dog;  I don't think he (Hudson)  is going to be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer.


I am glad he is doing well, but I don't think trashing your old team is ever a good idea.

all_i_am_saying_is
all_i_am_saying_is

Listen, here's the deal:  Is Hudson lying now “It was made pretty clear to me that the Braves didn’t want me back. After what I’d done for them, it was kind of a slap in the face" or was he lying in the past “The Braves made a really good push (with the increased offer). They did the best they could. Frank (Wren) was great.”?  Either way, he has no credibility at this point.  The one thing the Braves were blessed with at the time the decision needed to be made about Tim Hudson was young, live arms with a bright future.  I don't fault them at all for playing contract hardball with Tim.  He played well for us and was well paid for his time here too.  He needs to move on mentally.


All this other junk on the boards about other players contracts is irrelevant.  If you know anything, then you know those are 'sunk costs' and no amount of complaining is going to change what's been done.  Even if we find someone to dump Uggla and BJ salaries' onto (slim chance of it happening unless the Yankees, who always have money to burn, are itching for a right handed bat at the trade deadline) the new team is going to insist we pay a portion of their salary.


As has been mentioned, baseball is a business.  If it wasn't then Brian McCann would still be a Brave.  That's, personally, who I miss.

Rick_James
Rick_James

The Giants felt like Husdon was worth 23 million over two years to them and the Braves did not..Why is that a slap in the face? He made a ton of money in Atlanta.Get over it Tim.

Buzzzz
Buzzzz

It's not a reality show.  Baseball is a business.  You don't get what you think you're worth.....you find another offer.  Best of luck to the guy. 

Gman84
Gman84

With a 39 year old pitcher coming off a serious injury and an ERA of 4-how much are you supposed to offer? Would have been fine to have him back but I'd rather part ways a year too soon than a year too late.

Was it a slap in the face when he missed almost all of the 09 season or the stretch run last year? No,of course not and he go paid-nobody complained. Would be nice if he was a bit more circumspect in his appraisal.

Now, if the Braves let a productive hitter go in free agency then we'd have something to talk about

MikeS777
MikeS777

The Braves probably low balled him.  I didn't like this move.  I dont care if you have several arms waiting, you need veteran leadership, and this team can never have too much pitching.  Obviously the bats haven't worked most of the year, so pitching has carried them this far.  It's when you get to the post season that veteran leadership really stands out.

Also, the Braves did great signing Freeman and Simmons, but Heyward was not a good sign.  He just has not been worth it.  I was no more for signing him than I was giving all that money to BJ Upton.   I didnt expect Upton to be this bad, but i didnt expect him to be that great either.

I mean if Hudson took a hometown discount, and the Braves didnt even match that, then yeah...its a slap in the face after all he's done for this team.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

Mark Bowman has an article today which added color to this.


However, it is worth pointing out that Hudson was compensated - quite nicely, I should add - for he'd "done for them."  Contracts are not, and should not be, given based upon past performance; they should be given with an eye toward expected value.   Whether the Braves were right or wrong is not known, but as of now they look wrong.

midwaycva41
midwaycva41

This really is sad.  Hudson was a good player when he was here.  His family seemed to enjoy being here.  Now he is making more in S.F. Why all this squabbling about hurt feelings?  Just tell me the score and how the score occurred, not who has hurt feelings.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

Is it possible that they slap me in the face with an offer like that? I can produce Dan Uggla and BJ Upton type numbers!



REALLY I can! Slap me in the face all you want! 

dmcco01
dmcco01

I wish they'd hurry and slap Dan Uggla in the face...

drewK
drewK

Unfortunately, many past and future Braves will suffer due to long-term contracts handed out to players who have proved nothing. 

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

Frankly, Frank Wren's decisions generally suck - big time. Seemingly, the only 'good ones' are when he gets lucky. Given that Liberty Media had already told the Braves to make some moves that would 'pump up' the value of the team in anticipation of their cashing in sooner rather than later...and also given that long-term contracts for 'key' players were gonna be 'sleeves out of their (LM's) vest' in that they just bump up the asking price to cover em...it would appear that Wren 'guessed wrong' about Hudson's determination - and role as leader on this team' (surprise, surprise, surprise). If I were Hudson, I'd damn sure been thinking 'slap in the face' all along, but armed with the satisfaction that he's clearly producing better than the pitcher with the Pageboy hair Wren's paying $14 million to, I'd have gone public way before now.

JackClemens
JackClemens

The Braves made exactly the right decision with Hudson. He was too old and too damaged to put a lot of money into. The fact he's doing so well in SF is a huge surprise to me. That said, thanks for being a great Brave.

TheoWilliams
TheoWilliams

Hopefully, in time, Hudson will see the situation in a more objective light.  With the projected availability of starting pitchers, there was just no need to throw a ton of money at a 39 year old pitcher.  Hudson is one of the finest people in baseball, and I wish him the best.

Baghead
Baghead

Nothing will change what's been done, but we could take the most logical next step and FIRE WREN, so we don't have so many of these "sunk costs".  He's practically sank the entire Pacific fleet with his acquisitions.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

@GeorgeStein  I mean if I was Huddy and had to look at what the braves invested in Uggla and BJ it would seem a little disturbing. The contracts those two got are a laughable disgrace and he knew he was worth more than they were to the team. It was too late though and those mistakes couldnt be fixed leaving little money for a 39 year old coming off another injury. He still had the right to be like WTF though. Just saying.

Baghead
Baghead

Wren and Waddell are playing naked leapfrog at Piedmont Park.

TomEvans
TomEvans

@GeorgeStein @MikeS777  2/$13.  By comparison, it's only slightly more than the (not-exactly-free-spending) Cleveland Indians gave David Murphy this past offseason to be a platoon OF.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@GeorgeStein @MikeS777 What's so cute about that?  He's been a lead off hitter than can't get on base.  He's only just recently got his average above .250.  Spent most of the season below .220 with most of the rest of the team.

khd713
khd713

@Baghead More genius commentary from the sports whizzes. Have you guys ever actually considered - I mean really given thought to – the things you write? Things like, Wren is the "worst GM in the game"? Has cost the team "millions in money and games with his sorry players"? Really? What is your basis for believing that? Do you have any evidence to support your bold claims? 


I'm guessing it's the same evidence that everyone loves to trot out: Uggla and B.J.'s contracts. Great. That's two bad contracts. When we signed Uggla, I'm sure all of you Wren critics were out there decrying it as a terrible move. I'm sure you saw back then that he was going to hit .179 and lead the league in strikeouts and errors (but only after a season of hitting .230 with 31 HRs of course). I'm sure you saw all that at the time. You can't blame Wren for what has happened to Uggla, and if you do, then I can't give your opinion any credibility. 


And B.J.? I'll admit I didn't like that signing either, but it had more to do with the fact that I don't think B.J. fits the Braves mold than it was a concern that he would underperform. There's still a decent chance B.J. will turn things around, and it appears he may be (slowly) beginning to do just that. B.J. may turn out to be a terrible deal, but it's too early to say that for certain. He could still salvage himself to a large degree. 


Derek Lowe? With what he gave us during the bulk of his time in Atlanta, he was worth probably 90 percent of the total we ended up paying him, even though he stayed too long. Kawakami? OK, that's a bad one. But every GM in baseball has made a risky signing that didn't pan out. So, you've got Kawakami and, possibly, B.J. as bad signings by Wren. What else do you have to justify your bold claims about Wren being the worst GM in baseball? Do you think the offseason moves he made to lock up all of our young talent was foolish? Most of the people who follow the financial aspects of the game would argue that these offseason moves will actually SAVE the Braves millions and add wins, pretty much the opposite of your bold claim. I side with the experts.


It seems that all anyone wants to talk about are the Uggla and B.J. contracts. If you are honest with yourself, you will have to admit that they both were relatively low-risk signings, as far as they go. There was no way to predict both players would perform so far below their career averages. 


So how about giving us some facts to back up your bold claims. When you make statements like the ones above, you really ought to be prepared to support your argument. Don't you think that someone as bad as you say Wren is would be overseeing a last place team, or close to it? Well, here's a number for you: since Wren took over in 2007, the Braves have the seventh most wins of any team in baseball, trailing only the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals, Rays and Rangers. That's not too bad, considering there are 30 teams. And, it would appear that the Braves are trending upward (best record over last three years). Really, I would like to hear more about why you think Frank Wren is such a disaster of a GM because the facts just don't seem to support your bold theory.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@TomEvans Excellent point.   He's probably going to be a ~5 win player this year.   That's terrific value.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeS777 He has the third highest OBP on the team and is the best defensive RF in the game and adds value on the bases, too.


The distribution of his average is irrelevant.

thebucket
thebucket

@GeorgeStein @twelveofthirteen  George you are right on target. How can a player that has received $88 million from a team claim to have been treated unfairly by said team? I wish the Braves would slap me in the face like that!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@khd713:  ". . . You can't blame Wren for what has happened to Uggla, and if you do, then I can't give your opinion any credibility . . .

"Well, here's a number for you: since Wren took over in 2007, the Braves have the seventh most wins of any team in baseball . . . ."

_____________________

I'm sure everyone on here who holds Wren accountable for the bad moves he's made is devastated that you can't give their opinions any credibility.The seventh most wins??? We're No. 7! We're No. 7! Hello? And how has that seventh-place ranking translated to postseason success? You know--the playoffs, when the games really matter. How's that again?


MikeS777
MikeS777

@GeorgeStein @MikeS777 Third highest OBP on one of the worst hitting teams in the league.  Its the worst hitting Braves club since the 1980's.  That's not saying much, and no he's not some phenom in the OF.  This is a cash short team that has to put the money to good use.  Upping Tim's offer would have been better use of that money.

Ultraman8
Ultraman8

@thebucket @GeorgeStein @twelveofthirteen $88 million? How much money does one man need? Even if he kept 25% after all the BS taxes and agent fees, the man would have over 12 Million and if he put it into tax free bonds, would have about $500K a year in interest-TAX FREE! How could he NOT live on $500K a year net? Unless he is a total bozo with a $100K a month mortgage. Wish they would have pro money managers/accountants to keep these guys on a budget. These ticket prices in sports are pricing the average fan out of the game. 

khd713
khd713

@DawgNole @khd713 Seventh-most wins may not be what you want, but the point is that it disproves the idiotic comment that Wren is the worst GM in baseball. He's not the worst. Far from it. And the Braves have the best record over the last three years. People who make hyperbolic statements about Wren being the worst GM in baseball have no credibility.

inoto20
inoto20

@MikeS777 @GeorgeStein Yeah that's saying a lot. 3rd highest on this crap offensive team. lol. What a inane comment by steinhead

TampGator1
TampGator1

@MikeS777


Obviously, you have not watched Jason Heyward play right field.  He is spectacular in RF, and may be the best fielding RF in the game right now.  And he is finding his stroke, as he did last year.  I just wish the Braves had a legit lead off hitter so he could hit lower in the order.  He is not an ideal lead off hitter, but he is invaluable to the Braves right now.  And a great team player.  I suggest taking your blinders off, or start the wave like so many uniformed Braves "fans" in Atlanta.