It is time for Neal Huntington and the Pittsburgh Pirates to make a difficult roster decision
This past offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates signed reliever Daniel Hudson to a two-year 11 million dollar contract. The Pirates expected Hudson to be a big part of their bullpen in 2017 and 2018. With his plus fastball and wipeout slider, Hudson seemed like a great candidate to pitch in high leverage situations.
Unfortunately for Daniel Hudson and the Pirates, 2017 could not be going much worse. After beginning the year as the Pirates’ primary setup man, Hudson was bummed down to lower leverage situations. Now, Hudson works primarily in an innings eater role and is mostly used when games are out of hand.
Daniel Hudson has pitched 42 1/3 innings this season. Hudson has allowed 43 hits (9.14 H/9), 7 home runs (1.49 HR/9), he has thrown 3 wild pitches, and he has hit a batter. He is averaging an alarming 4.68 BB/9, and he owns a 4.89 ERA, a 4.93 FIP, and a 4.76 xFIP.
All of this comes out to Daniel Hudson having the worst season of his Major League career. Outside of his rookie season in 2009 when he pitched just 18 1/3 innings, Hudson’s ERA, FIP, and xFIP are all new career worsts. His 4.29 BB/9 is also the worst of his career outside of his 2009 campaign.
Prior to 2017 one of Daniel Hudson’s best traits was the ability to generate ground balls. In 2017, however, he has struggled with this. This season he owns a 39.5 percent ground ball rate, which is the third lowest of his career and his lowest since 2012 when he was still a starting pitcher.
There are few, if any, reasons to believe a turn around is on the horizon for Daniel Hudson. He has had serious control issues this season, he has been allowing rockets to opposing hitters (27.2 percent line drive rate), and his ground ball rate continues to drop.
At this point, Daniel Hudson is not helping the Pirate bullpen at all. Especially as the team finds itself in the thick of a pennant race. Due to this, it is time for the Pirates to cut ties with Hudson. This would require eating a chunk of his contract but that is something they have done before and need to do again.
Furthermore, the Pirates have intriguing young bullpen arms at Triple-A that deserve a look over Hudson. Dovydas Neverauskas, Edgar Santana, and Steven Brault all fall into this category. These pitchers could be a part of the Pirates’ future as well, while Hudson has proven that he is not.
When the Pirates signed Daniel Hudson, it was a move that we here at Rum Bunter really liked. Admittedly, we were very wrong about Hudson. 2017 has been a complete disaster for Daniel Hudson, and now the Pirates need to make the tough call and cut ties with the 30-year-old reliever.