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Hudson has had a bit of a career renaissance of late, taken to national heights Tuesday night when he locked down the final three outs of a thrilling NL wild card game, helping his Washington Nationals advance to the NLDS. It was his latest important act for the Nationals, who acquired Hudson from the Toronto Blue Jays in a midseason trade.
Since arriving in D.C., Hudson has quite simply been one of baseball's best relievers, the owner of a 1.44 ERA in 24 regular-season appearances before his scoreless ninth that followed up Juan Soto's go-ahead single in the eighth inning.
White Sox fans will remember Hudson as a promising young pitcher who had a brief South Side tenure at the big league level before getting traded. He pitched in just nine games for the White Sox, with an unremarkable 4.72 ERA in those games. They almost instantly dealt him to the D-backs in 2010, along with David Holmberg (who coincidentally enough did return to the organization and pitched for the White Sox in 2017), in exchange for Edwin Jackson.
After going to Arizona, Hudson had a pair of Tommy John surgeries before finally making his way back to the big leagues and catching on as a reliever. He's pitched for five teams in the last four seasons, the 2019 campaign being by far his most successful. He posted a 2.47 ERA in 69 games with the Blue Jays and Nationals and remains a key contributor in October.
Hudson's work in Washington figures to get the 32-year-old right-hander a nice payday this offseason as teams are constantly on the hunt for bullpen help. The White Sox count the relief corps as one of their strongest areas, and the back end of the 2020 ‘pen figures to be in place in Alex Colome and Aaron Bummer. But that didn't stop general manager Rick Hahn from saying that the White Sox will continue to look at adding relief help this winter.
"All 30 teams will tell you this week or whenever their press conference is that adding more bullpen pieces is an offseason priority, and we're no exception," Hahn said last week. "Obviously, the way Colome and Bummer have done over the course of the year makes you feel real good about their spot going forward. A now-healthy Kelvin Herrera is the kind of guy who's probably a pretty good reliever bounce-back candidate bet, if it hasn't already happened here in terms of seeing what he's capable of doing when he's 100 percent.
"(Jimmy) Cordero's been a nice find, as has been (Evan) Marshall, but that's not going to stop us from continuing to potentially take guys off waivers like Cordero or minor league free agents like Marshall.
"It's going to go into this offseason continuing to be a place we want to add because relievers are tricky. You see it every year, guys go from the top of the list to the bottom and back. Obviously, injury remains a consideration."
Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that the White Sox will look to go out and land one of the bigger names on the relief market, something Hudson could be, especially depending on how deep the Nationals go in the postseason. But as Hahn mentioned, one season's strong bullpen can become next season's weak bullpen in a blink, and adding more to that might be a way to guard against those wild fluctuations.
Hahn also laid out specific areas the White Sox will be targeting this winter: right field, designated hitter, starting pitcher. That's likely where the team's dollars will be going. So a high-priced reliever might not make the most sense, especially with the White Sox having a couple reliable late-inning guys already on the roster. But, hey, the White Sox will also be looking to add to the bullpen, and Hudson will be available.