A storybook reunion between Tim Hudson and the Oakland A’s did not materialize, but surely that won’t derail the A’s search for a veteran starting pitcher.
If anything, Oakland’s strong run at Hudson demonstrates that they have the financial resources to make competitive offers for some of the other free agent starters they might be interested in.
Hudson signed a two-year $23 million deal across the Bay with the Giants, but he told reporters how he felt a sentimental pull toward the A’s, the team he helped lead to four straight postseason appearances from 2000-03. But it’s clear that not only was there an emotional element to Hudson’s interest, the A’s presented an enticing financial offer as well.
“Obviously there’s a long history with Huddy,” said Paul Cohen, Hudson’s agent. “We had some talks with the A’s. They were serious about it. He was serious about it.”
Adding another starting pitcher is one of the A’s key offseason goals, particularly with the possibility that their own free agent, Bartolo Colon, could sign elsewhere. The A’s maintain interest in re-signing Colon, but they are exploring all options.
“I think it’s important to address (rotation) depth, whether it’s a veteran or not,” A’s assistant general manager David Forst recently told CSN California. “It’s on our list to keep an eye on starting pitchers, whether in free agency or trades.”
Indications are that the A’s indeed finished second in the Hudson sweepstakes. That being the case, we can assume they were willing to offer a two-year deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million per season, if not more. And that suggests they could re-direct that kind of money to another free agent pitcher, provided there’s someone else who interests them to the degree that Hudson did.
Some of the free agent starters that could fall in their range on two-year deals include lefty Scott Kazmir, perennial innings-eater Bronson Arroyo (but keep in mind he’ll turn 37 this spring) and Scott Feldman. Pitchers such as Dan Haren and Phil Hughes might be had on one-year deals.
It’s possible the A’s try to work a trade for a starter. They could also cross their fingers that lefty Brett Anderson stays healthy for a full season and that he represents some veteran rotation depth. But the A’s have some money to spend, and they have options after moving on from their courtship of Hudson.