Saturday, November 23, 2013

Friday Baseball Post

I sort of think I must be overreacting to this one, but I'm just very pleased with the Tim Hudson signing. The 38 and 39 year old seasons of a fringe-HOF type pitcher who has aged pretty well? Yeah, I'll take that. Sure, he could easily go south, but the odds of 50-55 league-average starts over the two years seem reasonable high to me. There were a couple of guys out there I was worried fit the Sabean profile who I was a lot less confident in, so I'm smiling about this. Given that I'm also a Freak optimist at this point, I'm happy with Sabean. Of course, he hasn't dealt with the 1B/LF hole yet.

Hudson has really had bad luck with money over his career. I mean, for a player at his level, over the same years; obviously, if you're a HOF-level pitcher, you're going to be lucky financially if you debut in 1999 and not 1979 or 1959. Still, he's just shy of $100M total salaries going into the $25M over the next two years he'll get from the Giants. Doesn't that seem below par for a guy with his career? His #1 most-similar at baseball-reference is Kevin Brown (debut 1989), and he's running just about even with Brown's salary take through their 39 year old seasons (assuming we can count on Hudson pulling in the money on the contract he just signed). He's behind Andy Pettitte, too, and behind Mike Mussina. Age here means a lot, but Hudson hasn't benefited from it. I mean, Roy Oswalt has made $97M so far, and he's younger than Hudson and not even remotely as good. Mark Buehrle, too. And then there's Hudson's old A's teammate, but we don't want to talk about him, do we?

At far as his chances of getting to the real HOF, it seems pretty unlikely; his HOF Monitor number is a very unimpressive 59. His chances (assuming no sabermetric revolution) basically depend on a revival that get him at least to 250 wins from his current 205 (plausible!). 300 doesn't appear possible; he would probably have to stay a rotation starter until he's 45 or 46, and he sure doesn't appear to have the stuff to do that. If he does get to 250, though, and maybe tacks on some impressive postseason stuff...well, then he's going to have a lot of sabermetric support, and he'll be a bubble guy.

I think he'll be fun to root for.


  1. Is Hudson really significantly better than Oswalt? They have virtually identical ERA- and a similar WAR despite Oswalt pitching 600 fewer innings.

    What's interesting about Hudson being unlucky with contracts is that he's always outperformed his peripherals - very high winning % and solid ERA despite good but not great BB and K numbers. He didn't seem to get any boost from strong superficial stats.

    Obviously timing is the big culprit. 2005 would have been his big contract year, but he only signed for 4/47. Two years later Zito got his 7/126, and it's not clear that Zito was a substantially more attractive free agent than Hudson was when he signed. 2007 was just a crazy, inflated year. Alfonso Soriano got 8/136 that year!

  2. Yeah, saying that Oswalt is not nearly as good as Hudson is a major stretch. Baseball Reference has their normalized stats showing Oswalt as superior -- better record (165-129 v. 140-96) better ERA (3.38 v. 3.57), better K/9 (7.4 v. 6), better K/BB (3.5 v. 2.16). Hudson has the edge only in HR/9 (.7 v. .8)


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