Atlanta Braves Offseason Moves: What to do with McCann and Hudson?

Although the Atlanta Braves finished the 2013 season 96-66, which put them in first place in the National League East, they suffered a heartbreaking lose to the Lost Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series. This is certainly not the first time that the Braves have fallen out of the playoff run early in October. They have had many opportunities to excel in the post season however they seem to always come up short; prior to losing the National League Wild Card game against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012, the Braves have been eliminated in the NL Division Series on 5 separate occasions in past 10 years. The question remains: what steps need to be taken in order to turn this reoccurring cycle around?

An argument can be made that every World Series contending team either has or needs an “ace” pitcher such as David Price, Clayton Kershaw, or Adam Wainwright, in order to be a top competitor in the League. Although the Braves have Craig Kimbrel, who is arguably one of best closers in the league, and a pitching core that lead the team to first place in NL East, the team lacks a pitcher that they can rely on to win the majority of the times he takes the mound. Furthermore, Braves general manager Frank Wren and his associates have a lot of decisions to make during the coming offseason considering pitcher Tim Hudson and catcher Brian McCann face free agency.

In an ESPN article regarding the Braves’ offseason discussion, Wren notes that they have decent depth in starting pitchers but they would have room for Hudson if were to resign, however he also agrees that the team lacks an ace despite their current depth situation at the pitcher position. That being said, should the Braves resign McCann and Hudson considering they are both veterans and have been with the Braves for many years, or do they let them go in order to allocate their money elsewhere and potentially find the ace pitcher that the team is lacking?

Tim Hudson, who was initially one of the star pitchers for Atlanta Braves at the beginning of the 2013 season, sustained a season-ending ankle injury during a July game against the Mets. Considering Hudson is 38 years of age and has been in the league for over 15 years, many critics believed that the night he broke his ankle would be the last time he would pitch every again, much less with the Braves. However, now that the season has come to an end and offseason moves are beginning to be discussed, there is still a possibility that Hudson could be resigned if things play out in his favor during the offseason. Wren believes that there would be a “significant role” for him if he were to return, and Hudson has repeatedly said that he would like to finish his career in Atlanta, however, deciding to use the money in order to get Hudson back, in addition to the younger pitchers coming up in the organization, is a different story.

Brian McCann, on the other hand ended the 2013 season going 0-for-13 in the division series. Although McCann has spent his whole career in the MLB playing for the Braves since 2002, the free agent’s expected open market value is between $15 and $18 million per year and resigning McCann does not seem to be a viable option, no matter the way you look at it, when you have catchers like Evan Gattis already apart of the team and could easily fill his role.

Personally, Tim Hudson and Brian McCann have been two of my favorite Braves players over the years and the idea of getting ride of them sickens me, however, whether they are veterans or not, getting rid of players in order to generate money and space for new players is just the nature of the game. I would love for Hudson to return to the Braves if the situation is right, however I believe that turning the team around by adding an ace-type pitcher and making them more suitable to compete in postseason scenarios is far more important. As for McCann, as much as I hate to say it, I think his time is over in Atlanta.

 

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