It was a near certainty that the Atlanta Braves were going to pick up Tim Hudson's option for the 2013 season. He not only provides much-needed veteran leadership and stability to a young pitching staff, but also to the entire team following Chipper Jones' retirement.
Hudson ended the season with a 16-7 record and a 3.62 ERA. He posted solid numbers despite missing the first month recovering from back surgery and dealing with ankle discomfort for a good portion of the season. He will be 37 years old at the start of the 2013 season, but he has still managed to be a horse in the Braves' rotation.
After exercising the options on Hudson and left-hander Paul Maholm, the Braves seemingly have four locks for the rotation next season: Hudson, Maholm, Kris Medlen, and Mike Minor. That would leave Tommy Hanson, Randall Delgado, and Julio Teheran to fight for the fifth spot in the rotation. Based on performance, Delgado would appear to be the front-runner for the job, but Hanson obviously has more experience.
The Braves may choose to use their pitching surplus to fill holes on offense. The Braves will likely need to find a center fielder with Michael Bourn probably being out of their price range. The Braves will also need to find a third baseman or a left fielder, depending on where they choose to play Martin Prado.
They could choose to trade some of their pitching surplus to a team like the Minnesota Twins, who have two center fielders in Denard Span and Ben Revere as well as a power-hitting left fielder in Josh Willingham. For a team like the Braves who can't afford to allot a large portion of their payroll to one player, the trade market will be the way to go.
As for Hudson, he will at least be an Atlanta Brave for the 2013 season, but he has expressed a desire to sign an extension with the Braves. The Braves would love to have Hudson retire in Atlanta, but the price will have to be right.
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