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Cubs Free-Agent Target: Daniel Hudson

Here’s a potential very good low-cost addition to the bullpen.

Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

This isn’t one I’m just speculating on -- here’s an article by Mark Gonzales of the Tribune that says the Cubs are actually looking at Daniel Hudson:

The Cubs' wide net of potential relief additions includes free agent Daniel Hudson.

The Cubs are one of several teams that has reached out to Hudson, 29, who has pitched in 134 games the past two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

As noted in the article, Hudson has had Tommy John surgery twice. He still has a 95-plus fastball according to his Fangraphs page, though, and could be a good addition to the Cubs’ bullpen.

His overall numbers in 2016 -- 5.22 ERA, 1.442 WHIP, 3.81 FIP in 70 appearances covering 60⅓ innings — don’t look all that great. But check this out:

First 29 appearances of 2016: 28 IP, 1.61 ERA, 0.786 WHIP
Next 15 appearances of 2016: 9⅔ IP, 24.21 ERA, 4.138 WHIP
Last 25 appearances of 2016: 21⅔ IP, 1.66 ERA, 1.154 WHIP

That’s just... bizarre. He was really good for two months, then James Shields-bad for about five weeks, then resumed being essentially that first two months pitcher for the last two months.

I don’t really know what to make of that. He had similar splits in 2015:

First 11 appearances of 2015: 15 IP, 6.00 ERA, 1.467 WHIP
Next 27 appearances of 2015: 29 IP, 1.86 ERA, 1.138 WHIP
Next 18 appearances of 2015: 16⅓ IP, 6.61 ERA, 1.898 WHIP
Last 8 appearances of 2016: 7⅓ IP, 1.23 ERA, 0.409 WHIP

You might say I’m cherry-picking small sample sizes here, and you’d be right. On the other hand, Hudson seems to have a pattern of pitching really well for a while, then really poorly for a while, then figuring it out and pitching really well again.

Sounds like something Chris Bosio might be able to help him with. At the right price (Hudson made $2.7 million in 2016, so he shouldn’t be expensive) this could be a very good signing.