Daniel Hudson is Dodgers latest reclamation reliever

Daniel Hudson was a beloved Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher for six seasons but is now is the latest of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ line of reclamation relievers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has worked with reclamation projects in the past with guys like Brandon Morrow, Tony Cingrani and Josh Fields.

The Dodgers signed Hudson to a minor league deal after he was cut by the Tampa Bay Rays during Spring Training. Hudson signed a two-year, $11-million contract with Pittsburgh after the 2016 season, his final year with the Diamondbacks. Tampa Bay traded slugger Corey Dickerson to the Pirates for Hudson and Tristan Gray. The Rays will pay his $5.5-million salary this season so the Dodgers basically get a free reliever to work with.

Hudson was drafted by the Chicago White Sox out of Old Dominion, where he went 20-14 with a career 3.79 ERA over three seasons. In 2009, Hudson swiftly climbed the minor league ladder, from Single-A Kannapolis all the way to Triple-A Charlotte. He was named Minor League Baseball’s overall Starting Pitcher of the Year for posting a 14-5 record and 2.32 ERA with 166 strikeouts in 147.1 innings pitched. That earned him his first MLB appearance as a September call-up with the White Sox.

In 2010, the White Sox traded Hudson to the Diamondbacks for Edwin Jackson. Hudson made an instant impact in Arizona by going 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA since the trade. Between Hudson and Ian Kennedy, the Diamondbacks felt that they had a good chance in Kirk Gibson’s first full season as manager to make the playoffs. Hudson went 16-12 with a 3.49 ERA over 222 innings as the Diamondbacks won the National League West Division title.

However, pitching for that many innings may have cost Hudson. He struggled through injuries and made only nine starts in 2012. His season ended early with Tommy John Surgery but in 2013, he had to have the procedure again after tearing his UCL while rehabbing.

Hudson was the main subject of Jeff Passan’s book, “The Arm.” He made his return to the big leagues in 2014 and became the fourth pitcher to have ligament replacement surgery in consecutive years and make it back to the show. Hudson became a full fledge reliever in 2015 and averaged a career-best 9.44 K/9 rate. He appeared in 70 games during his final season in 2016 and 2017 made a career high 71 appearances for the Pirates, striking out 66 batters in 61.2 innings pitched.

Roberts has seen Hudson numerous times in the past and liked what he saw. It was a low risk, high reward move for him.


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