Just hours after locking up Tim Hudson for the 2014 rotation, the Giants took steps to keep a key piece of their bullpen on board.
Left-handed specialist Javier Lopez is closing in on an agreement to return to the Giants, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area reported Tuesday.
Lopez, 36, is fresh off a two-year, $8.5 million deal with the Giants and received interest from the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees, reportedly.
In 69 games last season, Lopez compiled a 1.83 ERA and left-handed batters hit just .156 off him.
As for Hudson, he hardly envisioned his career crossing the country once more to bring him back to the Bay Area after beginning his career with the A’s.
“I’d like to start out by saying we’re really excited to come back to the bay. This is where I started my career,” Hudson said Tuesday. “Making a trip back across the country quite honestly isn’t something I anticipated a couple years ago. When the Giants were interested in me, I quickly realized it was going to be a definite possibility.”
While Hudson had a hard time deciding to leave the Atlanta Braves — the team he grew up cheering — he understood this would be a great opportunity with a franchise that won the World Series in 2010 and ‘12. His two daughters were born in the Bay Area.
Hudson had a physical Monday, and the team announced the agreement Tuesday.
“Once we got the physical squared away, there was no question he was going to become a Giant,” said general manager Brian Sabean, who credited the pitcher for his swift decision.
The 38-year-old Hudson went 8-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 21 starts this season for Atlanta. His season was cut short by a broken right ankle that required surgery. The Braves earlier this month declined to make a qualifying offer to Hudson, who won 49 games during the previous three seasons.
Hudson traded text messages with good friend Barry Zito on Monday — and now is filling a rotation spot vacated by Zito’s departure.
“It’s a bit odd,” Hudson said. “We go back a long way. We were texting a little bit yesterday. He’s happy for me and my family but it’s a little bittersweet. I texted him I wish he’d been here with me.”
The Giants had been eager to find an experienced starter to fill in the rotation. Zito just finished a $126 million, seven-year contract and had his $18 million option declined. Ryan Vogelsong’s $6.5 million option also was turned down by the club.
“I can’t wait to get out here and help us win every fifth day. … I feel I can pitch toward the top of any rotation,” Hudson said. “This is going to be a new chapter for me and my family.”