This is the second deal in two days for the Oakland A's, who are fine-tuning their roster for the 2005 season. Hudson, who was entering the final year of his contract, was not likely to re-sign with Oakland, so the A's decided to try to get something for their ace.
All three players that the A's received from Atlanta should have a chance to make an impact for Oakland in the near future. Dan Meyer is a major-league ready pitching prospect. The left-handed starter had a tremendous year in the minor leagues last season, going 9-6 with a combined ERA under 2.50 for AA-Greenville and AAA-Richmond. He made two appearances for Atlanta at the end of the season, tossing two shut-out innings. Meyer figures to have a good shot of making the A's rotation out of spring training.
Juan Cruz may be the most electric part of this package of players. The former Chicago Cub prospect has tremendous stuff and made a successful transition from starter to reliever last season. Cruz made 50 appearances for Atlanta and was 6-2 with a 2.75 ERA. The 24 year-old righthander has been a starting pitcher in the past and could be in the mix for a spot in the starting rotation. However, Cruz is more likely going to be slated to be the A's primary right-handed set-up man for the up-coming season. Cruz, who struck out 70 batters in 72 innings last year, will combine with flame-throwing closer Octavio Dotel to give the A's a hard-throwing back-end of the bullpen that they haven't had in awhile.
The third player in the package is outfielder Charles Thomas. Thomas is a left-handed hitting outfielder who debuted with Atlanta last season. In his rookie season, Thomas hit .288 with seven homeruns and 31 runs batted in in 83 games for the Braves. He also played in AAA-Richmond last season and hit .358 in 61 games for the Richmond Braves. It isn't clear where Thomas will fit into the A's plans for next season. He does hit right-handed pitching well and could serve as a platoon partner for Eric Byrnes in leftfield. His addition to the deal could signal that the A's plan to non-tender outfielder Bobby Kielty next week.
Thomas, Cruz and Meyer join catcher Jason Kendall and infielder Keith Ginter as acquisitions made by the A's so far this off-season.
The A's say good-bye to Tim Hudson, who has served as one of the team's ace pitchers since his debut in 1999. "Huddy", as he is affectionately known, is a fan favorite and an intense competitor. He has the third highest winning percentage of any pitcher all-time.
Hudson missed about two months last season due to a strained hip flexor, an injury that has plagued him for three straight years. He finished the year 12-6 with a 3.53 ERA. The 12 wins were the lowest number of wins for Hudson since his rookie season in 1999.
Stay tuned to OaklandClubhouse.com for more coverage of this deal...
Deal is Done: Hudson Headed to Atlanta
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