Tim Hudson isn't joining the Indians.
is was one of this offseason's more interesting free agent pitchers. I ranked him 11th on my countdown of the best arms available, speculating that he'd sign for something like 1 year, $11 million, or 2 years, $18M. It turns out I was low on Hudson, as this afternoon he signed with the San Francisco Giants for 2 years, $23 million.
Hudson and Terry Francona reportedly had a lengthy phone conversation two weeks ago, but there were never reports of an actual contract offer from the Tribe, and I suspect this deal was a bit richer than they were looking to pay. Hudson is 38 years old, so I can understand any team's hesitancy to go more than one year on him, but this may signify that the market for pitching is a bit higher than many expected. New national TV contract money kicks in next season ($25 million per team), so it makes sense that prices would go up (pretty much the only direction they only go), so these early signings are establishing new baselines, to some degree.
I'm not particularly disappointed that the Indians missed out on Hudson, but they are also said to be against going beyond one year for Scott Kazmir (who I'd prefer to Hudson), and if this signing does represent market value, I have to hope the Tribe just has other targets in mind, and isn't being too conservative. There's a vacancy in the starting rotation, and the internal replacement options (Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin, and Carlos Carrasco) don't inspire a lot of confidence at this juncture.
There are obviously still a ton of pitchers out there, some better than Hudson, some worse, but we should all be watching the price tags for the ones who sign, and keep an ear to the ground for any sense of what the Indians are planning.