Winter Meetings: Tim Hudson Quick Mover ?

<b>ANAHEIM –</b> While the rumors continue to fly through baseball's Winter Meetings, one name consistently mentioned is that of Oakland Athletics starter Tim Hudson.

With just one year to go before Hudson will pursue a big-money contract via free agency, Oakland GM Billy Beane appears to be taking the initiative to deal him first, thus breaking up the A's vaunted 'Big Three' rotation of Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday that the St. Louis Cardinals are the leading bidder for the services of Hudson, who was 12-6 with a 3.53 ERA in 2004.

A source with knowledge of the situation told that the offer from St. Louis – which just lost Woody Williams to the San Diego Padres - still appeared to be the best on the table for Oakland, although a deal was by no means imminent.

"I would still imagine someone could top that," the source said of the offer, which consisted of pitchers Dan Haren and Rick Ankiel.

Meanwhile, the A's are still said to be hot for Atlanta Braves second baseman Marcus Giles, and could possibly engineer a three-way deal that would involve Hudson.

The Chronicle listed the Cardinals, Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers as teams most interested in Hudson.

Bryan Hoch is in Anaheim covering the Winter Meetings for

Scout MLB Network Top Stories