Hudson to the Braves | article
In getting Tim Hudson, the Braves have their first ace since Greg Maddux stopped pitching like Greg Maddux in 2003. And Smoltz is old, but he still brings it. So the Braves have two bona fide aces kicking off their rotation, as opposed to last year where they were mixing and matching for much of the season. Smoltz'll bring it for the next couple of years at which time he'll probably hang it up. Pitchers are doing crazy things these days - Roger Clemens is 42 and just won the Cy Young, and Randy Johnson finished 2nd and he's 41. But still I don't think you can realistically expect Smoltz to go past 40, given that he has a history of arm problems and hasn't started a game since '99. Hudson, provided he stays with the Braves, can be counted on for 15-20 wins a season for the next 8-10 years.
This deal is looking like the reverse of how the Milwood-Estrada trade looked. In the Milwood-Estrada deal, the Braves dealt a proven starter, Kevin Milwood, for what everybody thought was a nobody- Johnny Estrada. But the Braves knew they were getting a solid prospect and he panned out great for last year's playoff club. Likewise, the story of this trade is definitely Tim Hudson, but the Braves didn't give up chump change - Charles Thomas can get on base and is fast; Juan Cruz is a thin, feisty power pitcher that could use a little more control on his fastball, like a young Pedro Martinez; Dan Meyer has pitched well in the minors. Talent and potential are words that don't always amount to production, but they often do - and all those guys have talent.
The Braves and the A's are two of the most consistent teams in the game; they've both been competitive every year since 1999. And their GMs - John Schuerholz and Billy Beane- are a big reason why. Schuerholz knows how to spend money wisely and maintain a high level of play; Beane knows how to trade for quality prospects and maintain a high level of play. This trade is just both men doing what they do best.