The #Dbacks have non-tendered pitcher Daniel Hudson. Kevin Towers says club will continue to negotiate with him and hopes to bring him back.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) December 3, 2013
Hudson last pitched for the Diamondbacks on June 26, 2012 in Atlanta, hitting the disabled list soon thereafter and undergoing Tommy John surgery the following month. Recovery from that initially went well, but just as Hudson was starting a minor league rehab assignment in June of this season, he re-injured the elbow during his start with the Mobile Bay Bears. That resulted in a second Tommy John procedure, which was carried out on June 18, making Hudson's return a significantly more dicey process and, of course, also at least resetting the clock on the typical 12-month recovery period, if not even longer.
That meant the odds were against Hudson be able to pitch effectively for the Diamondbacks in 2014, which would have been his first year of arbitration. Effectively, tendering Hudson a contract would have been done with the hope that he might be able to come back and pitch in 2015: it's certainly possible that he would not be able to rejoin the Arizona rotation, and could require transformation into a reliever. Tying up a 40-man spot appears not to have been considered worth the gamble by Arizona, though as the team notes, they will continue negotiating with Hudson. But other franchises now have the ability to throw their hats into the ring.
The non-tendering comes as a bit of a shock, because it was less than a week ago that Hudson and the Diamondbacks were apparently in negotiations over a new deal. At that time, Daniel said, "We've finally started kicking tires on something. Hopefully we'll get something done in the next few days or over the weekend. Obviously my wife and I have our roots set down here. We'd like to be here for the long run, and I'd like to have a long career with the Diamondbacks." It seemed likely they could work out a deal similar to the one-year one with a team option in 2015, for reliever Matt Reynolds, also recovering from TJ surgery.
Instead, Hudson could well be an intriguing candidate for some team, because when he was 100% healthy, he put up excellent numbers. Between coming to Arizona with David Holmberg from the White Sox in the Edwin Jackson trade, and the end of 2011, Hudson went 23-13 with an ERA a hair above three. Even if there's only a 10% chance of Hudson rebounding to anything close to his 2010-11 numbers, it would not surprise me if there's a team out there prepared to roll the dice and offer him a contract, as a high-risk, high-reward possibility for recovery.
As expected, the Diamondbacks did tender contracts to their other arbitration-eligible players: Josh Collmenter, Gerardo Parra, Joe Thatcher and Brad Ziegler. Across all the majors, a total of 43 players were non-tendered: we'll be back in the morning with a look at the list, to see if there's anyone at whom Arizona might want to look.