Arizona Diamondbacks – Hudson could face a complicated free agency route

Daniel Hudson of the Arizona Diamondbacks is one of many free agents this coming off-season

This is safe to assume that the Arizona Diamondbacks began planning for next season some time ago.

A season once held with hope and promise quickly faded into despair and misery. Front office personnel were singled out for the gloom and disappointment. A usually vibrant clubhouse fell silent, and players quietly paid their obligation dues and spoke softly with the media.

By the All-Star game, the Arizona Diamondbacks were 14 games under.500, in fifth place in the National League West Division race and 18 games out of first place. If things had not hit rock-bottom, the slide continued. Coming into Wednesday’s game with Washington at Nationals Park, the Diamondbacks sunk lower. Here, they were 27 games under .500, and occupied the basement of the NL West. Only the Minnesota Twins had a worse season mark.

All of which does not bode well for prospective free agents. On a grossly underachieving team, rarely does a player gather attention in the marketplace. To make matters worse, combine the team’s mark with personal numbers, and the horizon could be dark and forbidding.

Take the case of Diamondbacks’ reliever Daniel Hudson. After a splendid come-back season a year ago, he led relievers with 14 holds, compiled a 4-3 record and creditable 3.86 ERA in 64 appearances. For the current season, Hudson’s numbers are basically similar. Hudson sports a 2-2 mark, leads the team in holds with 17, recorded four saves, but has a higher 5.53 ERA in 66 appearances. Including Wednesday’s game, the Diamondbacks have five contests left on their schedule.

An unrestricted free agent after this season, Hudson has made it known he wants to remain in Sedona Red. For the 2016 season, the 29-year-old native of Virginia Beach, Va. earned $2.7 million, and will likely ask for more.

“The free agency situation tends to get a little complicated,” Hudson said before a recent game. “There are different rules for different types of players. There is compensation involved, too. I’ll start my off-season program, and then see what happens.”

In Hudson’s case, he plans to construct his usual off-season preparation program, and then wait. With the Diamondbacks since 2010 ,when traded from the Chicago White Sox, Hudson clearly falls under the free agency criteria. When the current season ends, he will have 6.1 years of major league service.

If Hudson signs with another team, the Diamondbacks can receive compensation with a draft pick. For that to happen, the Diamondbacks must offer salary arbitration. Then, it’s up to Hudson to accept the Arizona offer, or try and forge a deal with another team.

By rule, the Diamondbacks must offer the salary arbitration by early December. After that point, the Diamondbacks cannot negotiate with Hudson until May 1. If the Diamondbacks offer salary arbitration, Hudson has two weeks to accept. If he refuses, Hudson then speak with other clubs until Jan. 7. After that period, there can be no more negotiation until May 1.

Asked if there is a timetable in which to reach out to Hudson, manager Chip Hale simply, said, “that’s up the Tony (La Russa, the cub’s Chief Baseball Officer), and Dave (Stewart, the team’s general manager).”

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