The Atlanta Braves will be a lot different on the field and in the clubhouse in 2014, with right-hander Tim Hudson already gone and catcher Brian McCann seemingly soon to follow.
Hudson agreed to a two-year, $23-million contract with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent and McCann has multiple long-term offers from other teams as well.
Hudson, who had his 2013 season ended by a broken ankle in late July, received a late two-year offer from the Braves, but at much less money than the Giants offered the 38-year-old pitcher.
Signing with San Francisco means a return to the Bay Area for the former Auburn standout, who began his career with Oakland. He was 113-72 in nine years with the Braves after going 92-39 in six years with the A’s, including a 20-6 season in 2000.
Hudson, 8-7 with a 3.97 ERA before he was injured, the considered the most likely of the Braves’ eight free agents to return to the team for next season. But other teams weren’t scared off by his injury or age, upping his bargaining position.
McCann, who has spent his entire career with Atlanta, is expected to get a deal in the five-year, $80-million range and the Braves don’t appear to be willing to make that kind of offer.
The seven-time National League all-star is expected to end up with an American League team that can also use him at designated hitter. The top contenders for the Duluth graduate and Suwanee resident appear to be Texas, Boston and the New York Yankees.
The loss of McCann as well as Hudson would mark a major makeover for the Braves, who won the National League East with 96 victories last season. They were the longest-tenured players on the team and the leaders in the clubhouse.
Hudson’s departure leaves the Braves with a very young starting rotation made up of Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Julio Teheran, Alex Wood and Brandon Beachy, who is coming back from elbow problems.
The Braves have shown no interest in bringing back free agent starter Paul Maholm, but they do still have interest in Eric O’Flaherty. The lefty reliever had elbow surgery in May.