Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Hudson Deal

And now for the impetus for me to finally get off my posterior and start the Blog I always wanted to write: the Tim Hudson signing. My wife is stewing in the other room that Michael loves his Blog more than me, so here are my quick first thoughts:

1. Short-term, the Braves are slightly less likely to win the Division this year because of this deal. Hudson would have been remarkably motivated by pitching in a contract year, just as Gary Sheffield, Javy Lopez, and J.D. Drew were all remarkably more productive in their contract years than they were in the preceding season. Long-term, this is a good move. Given the insane money that was thrown at pitchers like Russ Ortiz and Kris Benson in the off-season, Hudson's deal isn't overly burdensome, although it's a little longer than I would have liked. Personally, I worry that giving any pitcher a deal longer than three years is a mistake because they are so prone to injuries, but if we're going to overpay for anyone, Hudson's the right guy.

2. Hudson's strikeout rate worries me. I buy into the bill of goods that sabrmetricians have to sell me, and they think that strikeout rates are an important index of a pitcher's health. Hudson's strikeouts have declined over the past several years. Baseball Prospectus (like patience, diamonds, and the Clermont, an invaluable resource if there ever was one,) speculates that his splitter is not coming with him to Atlanta. I trust in Mazzone, both to play with Hudson's mechanics and to keep him healthy with his off-day throwing regimen, but we might have just given an expensive, long-term deal to a pitcher who is starting to have consistent health problems. On the other hand, his health issue was a hip last year. I'm no doctor (although I do share a bed with one,) but a hip doesn't worry me like a shoulder or an elbow.

And speaking of Dr. Mrs. Michael, I can hear the steam bouncing off the ceilings, so good night.

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