Daniel Hudson’s role for the Dbacks in 2015 is still unknown. Photo Courtesy of Rob Schumacher of The Arizona Republic
The Arizona Diamondbacks are looking for affordable starting pitching. That is General Manager Dave Stewart‘s no.1 priority this winter.
Here is the thing: they have a proven starting pitcher, with a mid 90’s fastball, and an affordable contract in house.
That guy is right-hander Daniel Hudson. Here is why it is far from clear cut: Hudson returned to the majors in late September after successfully working through two Tommy John Surgeries on his right elbow.
Trends in baseball show that pitchers rarely come back after tearing their UCL twice, and even fewer come back as starting pitchers. However, if they attempt a comeback as a starter, it usually happens right away.
That is why the Dbacks are in a tough spot. This team is desperate for starting pitching, but at the same time they dont want to rush Hudson to the point where it hurts him.
Keep in mind, Hudson was really successful as a starter. He posted a 3.01 era in his first 44 starts with the Snakes.
The previous front office led by G.M. Kevin Towers wanted to keep Hudson as a reliever, but Stewart seems to be open to the idea of Hudson pitching in the rotation at some point.
This is what he told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic at the G.M. Meetings:
“We had a discussion about that, and we’re not really sure,” Stewart said. “We’d like to best utilize him in a way that we can get the most out of him. We’re going to have to have more discussions with our training staff, and I’d like to ask some people externally about what they think of his condition and how we can best utilize him without hurting him.”
First of all, there is no way that Hudson will start the season in the rotation. After pitching very few innings in the past two years, he cant afford to be a starter for all of 2015.
However I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hudson start the season in the pen, and then go to the rotation mid-season, and then the Dbacks can evaluate the situation from there.
This means that the Dbacks will probably still have to target a starting pitcher in a trade, or on the free agent market.
Guys have come back from two Tommy John surgeries and returned to the rotation with the most recent being Chris Capuano.
I think the best course of action would be for Hudson to start in the pen to build up his arm, and then he can move to the rotation if there is a need.
Who knows, if the rotation is faring well, and healthy, Arizona might not need him in the rotation, and he can pitch the whole season in a middle innings relief role.
This is a story-line to follow throughout the offseason and the 2015 season.
Do you have any thoughts on what the Dbacks should do with Hudson? Comment below to start the discussion!