Tim Hudson, San Francisco Giants close in on deal

5:43 AM, Nov 19, 2013   |    comments
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants, determined to bolster a once-proud rotation that faltered in 2013, are turning to a Bay Area favorite from a previous era.

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According to multiple news media reports, the Giants have come to terms with free agent pitcher Tim Hudson on a two-year, $23 million contract. Giants VP and assistant general manager Bobby Evans would not confirm the reports but said via text to USA TODAY Sports, "We are close.''

Hudson, 38, went 8-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 21 starts with the Atlanta Braves before missing the last two months with a broken ankle sustained when he collided at first base with the New York Mets' Eric Young on July 24. Hudson is expected to start running later this month.

The Georgia native attended high school and college in Alabama and pitched the last nine seasons for the Braves, but he broke in with the Oakland Athletics in 1999 and had a 92-39 record in six years by the bay before a December 2004 trade sent him back near his hometown.

Hudson's signing comes a few weeks after San Francisco parted ways with Barry Zito, his former A's teammate. Oakland made the playoffs four consecutive years from 2000-2003, with Hudson, Zito and Mark Mulder forming the backbone of the rotation and earning the nickname, "The Big Three.''

The Giants hope Hudson's addition will help reverse a troubling trend for Giants starters, who last season ranked 13th in the National League with a 4.37 ERA. In 2010 and 2011, San Francisco's rotation finished second in ERA.

The club's No. 1 priority in the offseason is to revamp its stable of starters, which is headed by Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. The Giants let go of Zito and declined an option on fellow starter Ryan Vogelsong, but they re-signed former staff ace Tim Lincecum to a two-year, $35 million contract.

Much like Lincecum's deal, Hudson's contract comes with a significantly higher average annual value than the industry expectation - the Braves actually offered Hudson a pay cut from his $9 million salary of 2013 - in exchange for a shorter commitment.

After missing most of the 2009 season recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery, Hudson went 57-33 with a 3.33 ERA the last four seasons while holding a position of leadership in the Braves' staff.

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