Hudson adds to Braves' depth

Does anyone have a deeper group of starting pitchers than the Atlanta Braves? As David O'Brien reports, it looks like Tim Hudson will soon re-up for another three seasons:

    Pitcher Tim Hudson is expected to sign a three-year contract extension with the Braves by early next week, a person

    familiar with negotiations said.

    The Braves and Hudson's representative have made rapid progress in negotiations on a deal, which could be completed as early as Friday. It's believed it will be worth approximately $9 million per season.


    On an open market that isn't expected to include many elite pitchers, Hudson could presumably command more than $10 million annually in a multi-year deal.

    He went 2-1 with a 3.61 ERA in seven late-season starts after a year-long recovery from elbow surgery. The former 20-game winner has a 148-78 career record.

Great move by the Braves if those seven late-season starts indicate what the next two or three seasons will look like.

As Craig points out, the Braves now have six perfectly viable starting pitchers: Hudson,

Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe, and Kenshin Kawakami. They've also got 23-year-old Kris Medlen, who was mostly a reliever this season but has real promise as a starter.

A trade would seem to be in order ... but for what, exactly? With exception of one corner outfield spot, the Braves would seem to be set at every position ... and super-prospect Jason Heyward is going to be ready to take over in right field real soon. He's just turned 20 and has hardly played in Triple-A, so the Braves might send him back there to start next season. But he doesn't figure to be there for long, so the Braves don't figure to make a trade for an every-day right fielder.

Frank Wren must be feeling pretty good right now. He'll probably try to trade Kawakami, and probably won't get a lot for him. But he doesn't need much. He'll probably have the best rotation in the National League, and he'll have good players at almost every position. The Phillies obviously will enter 2010 as the favorites in the East. But the Braves are looking pretty good, right now, for the wild card.