The San Francisco Giants overpaid for one of their own starters last month when they gave Tim Lincecum a two-year deal worth more per year than the qualifying offer would have cost. But they seem to have spent their money more efficiently on Tim Hudson, getting a better pitcher whose market may have been limited by his season-ending ankle injury, for a deal reportedly worth $23 million over two years.
Hudson, 38, was headed for a 2 to 2.5 WAR season when he got hurt in late June, and his peripherals were all in line with his recent history or better, including the second-best strikeout rate he’d posted since leaving Oakland nearly a decade ago.
His skill set is one that tends to age well — plus control with good sink and the ability to get ground balls. The main worry with any pitcher getting into his late 30s or early 40s is that a loss of velocity will lead to harder contact, meaning higher home run rates and potentially higher BABIPs, as well. But Hudson’s innate ability to keep the ball in the park will now be supplemented by 16 or so starts a year at spacious AT&T Park, plus a few at Petco Park and Dodger Stadium, which are also pitcher-friendly. He might be good for only 350 innings over two years, but even if he loses another mile per hour or two on his fastball, I like his chances to provide good value on this deal.
The Giants seemed to be targeting multiple starting pitchers this offseason as Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito will not be returning to the rotation in 2014, but with Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Hudson and, in theory, Lincecum (assuming he doesn’t pitch his way out of the rotation), they’re most of the way to a complete set. While Lincecum is a bit of a wild card because of his poor performance over the last two years, Hudson is a significant upgrade over Vogelsong and Zito, who were both below replacement level in 2013.
The real question is whether this is just much ado about nothing, as the Giants’ unbalanced offense is likely to get little to nothing offensively from shortstop, second base and left field, and it’s hard to see them getting close to the Dodgers in 2014 unless L.A. suffers a rash of injuries or off years from its loaded roster.
–Keith Law, ESPN.com
That overpowering noise in Sleep Train Arena? It isn’t what you think. It isn’t the cowbells. All celebrations and warm and fuzzy feelings aside, it’s the sound of the 2013-14 Kings hitting the ground with a thud.
New owner, new head coach, new general manager, newly renovated arena. Same old Kings.
There is rank and there is rank, and as the Phoenix Suns visit tonight, the Kings are near the bottom in field-goal percentage (26th), assists (22nd), defensive rebounds (27th) and blocked shots (last), not to mention entertainment value.
A pass? Someone? Anyone? A screen? Someone, anyone? A fast break? More than once in a while?
“We make our runs, and then all of a sudden, we play terrible basketball,” Greivis Vasquez said. “It’s tough on everybody. It’s going to click eventually, but we’re suffering right now. And obviously if you lose, you don’t want to lose this way, in your house.”
In a house that has been cleaned up, by the way, and filled to capacity for three of the seven home games. So what’s the fix? The broom will be an increasingly useful tool. Talent in the NBA is almost everything, and the Kings still have more holes and inherent glitches than the national health care program. The solution will come from a combination of elements, foremost another high draft choice, a series of shrewd trades, astute salary cap management and free agency.
And one more factor: time.
– Ailene Voisin, Sacramento Bee
There is no way Matt McGloin should’ve done what he did here Sunday, not him, no chance … are you kidding?
For a franchise that can’t seem to figure out what to do at quarterback, in a season loaded with uncertainty, of course, it was McGloin who made it all seem solid and sensible for at least one game.
Him. Yes. Naturally, the Never-Chosen One.
McGloin didn’t merely come out of nowhere to replace the injured Terrelle Pryor, throw three touchdowns and command the Raiders offense through an eye-popping 28-23 victory over fading Houston.
No, McGloin came out of some alternative dimension five times more distant than nowhere, doing something slightly more than impossible, and making it seem stunningly more than inevitable.
“It was about what I expected,” coach Dennis Allen said coolly. “I really did. I expected the kid to come in and play well, and he did.”
Allen expected McGloin — an undrafted rookie who was a walk-on in college and who looks and talks like a particularly dry FBI man — to play like … this?
But there does seem to be a distinct aura about McGloin’s journey from forgotten to Penn State starter and then forgotten again by the NFL to firing a touchdown on his first NFL pass as a starter on Sunday.
And throwing strike after strike after strike …
–Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury News