Mark Mulder won’t come out of retirement, thus robbing the Giants of the coup of appropriating the surreptitious architects of Moneyball.
But having had the post-zenith of Barry Zito’s career, they will now have the post-zenith of Tim Hudson’s, and may end up feeling better about it when all is done.
[NEWS: Giants, Hudson agree on two-year deal]
For one, signing the former Oakland/Atlanta pitcher will cost $139 million less, last five fewer years and may well help more materially as a fourth starter than Zito did for much of his Giant career.
For two, the money and years are well within market parameters.
For three, Hudson (assuming health) fills a crying need for baseball skill at the back end of the Giants’ 2014 rotation, while Zito was unfairly asked to be the post-Bondsian face of the franchise.
All that said, a perfectly sensible November signing does not necessarily mean a sensible result, and the Giants’ addressing a need is not the same as them filling one. That is the function of the months between March and October.
[REWIND -- Pros and Cons: Tim Hudson]
Still, Hudson will surely fit temperamentally into a rotation with Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum, as he, like Cain and Bumgarner for sure and Lincecum as work-in-progress, is a largely no-nonsense pitcher who pitches as much with his head as his arm, as any veteran should.
Moreover, as a mostly ground ball pitcher through his career, he can use the Giants’ capacious playground in ways that he never really could Atlanta’s. He doesn’t have to be quite so precise in the strike zone, at 38 he will surely acknowledge that every little bit helps.
Is there downside here? Well, he isn’t Yu Darvish, and he is nearly 40. But mostly the downside is if he doesn’t perform well, and today isn’t the day to know that. He plugged one hole in the San Francisco firmament, and now we’ll see if any additional sealant is required.
Now if he could play left field on his non-throwing days . . .