Royals interested in Tim Hudson

David Banks

Time to fire up the Dayton Moore ex-Braves jokes.

It's time for some Monday afternoon free agency rumors; the Kansas City Royals are apparently pursuing free agent starting pitcher Tim Hudson, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com.

Bowman writes that the Royals and the Cleveland Indians have shown the most interest in the starting pitcher, although the Atlanta Braves have offered Hudson a one-year contract. Hudson and his agent, however, have apparently not made a counter offer and appear to be exploring other options.

Terry Francona had a "lengthy" phone conversation with Hudson, and Ned Yost will call the pitcher later in the week, according to Bowman.  There's been no word on whether Yost plans to bring Hudson on a hunting trip.

Hudson has been with the Braves for the past nine years after spending the first six seasons of his career with the Oakland Athletics. Starting with stats that will be cited by the Royals if they do sign Hudson, the starter has 205 career wins with a 3.44 ERA, averaging 224 innings each season.

The starter, however, will turn 39 next July, putting him on the wrong side of the aging curve. He has remained surprisingly effective despite his age; his ERA slipped to 3.97 in 2013, but he countered that with a 3.46 FIP and 3.75 SIERA. His FIP over the past three seasons has been fairly consistent: 3.78 in 2012, 3.39 in 2011.

Hudson has posted a below-average but non-Guthrian strikeout rate since 2009 (with the exception of his 13.6 K% in 2012), but has managed to keep his walk rate below league-average. His strength has been forcing groundballs; his career GB% is 58.5%, and his 2013 came in at 55.8%.

He has battled non-arm related injury problems the past two seasons. Hudson underwent lumbar spine-fusion surgery before the 2012 season, which caused him to miss the first month of the year. The veteran suffered a broken ankle last July, which held him out of the Braves rotation the final two months of the season.

Hudson seems like a solid target, depending on the contract he receives. He has gone on the record stating that he would like to return to Atlanta in 2014, but may be searching for a multi-year deal. Giving any pitcher a multi-year deal is problematic, especially one who will turn 39 next season who needed to undergo season ending surgery, even if it was on his ankle and not his arm/shoulder/elbow.

The Royals do need more pitching next season, and Hudson would likely represent an upgrade over most of the Royals projected rotation next season, even with an expected decline in his numbers. Hudson to the Royals seems like a decent fit, but we will have to wait to find out if there is more substance to these rumors.

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