Daniel Hudson thought the door was closed on returning to the Nationals when they signed fellow reliever Will Harris.
But Hudson wanted to be back with Washington, and general manager Mike Rizzo shared the same sentiment. So, Hudson and the team agreed to an $11 million, two-year deal that was finalized Tuesday.
Hudson gets $5 million this year and $6 million in 2021. He can earn $1 million annually in performance bonuses for games finished: $200,000 each for 30, 40, 45, 50 and 55.
Not long ago, the bullpen was a major weakness. Now, the reigning World Series champions can deal from a position of strength by turning to Hudson, Harris and holdover Sean Doolittle.
“Recreating what we had is going to be tough, but I feel like I want to try to be a part of that,” Hudson said on a conference call with reporters. “The window to continue winning in D.C. is definitely still open, and I’d like to be a part of that still.”
Hudson is back after a successful half season and more that ended with him striking out Houston’s Michael Brantley for the final out of the Nationals’ Game 7 World Series win. The right-hander went 4 for 4 in save opportunities during the postseason and allowed no runs in seven of his nine postseason appearances.
The Nationals acquired Hudson, 32, from Toronto at the July 31 trade deadline. He went 3-0 with six saves and a 1.44 ERA in 24 games the rest of the regular season.
Doolittle and Hudson kept in touch since the end of last season, exchanging messages about wanting to pitch together again. They got their wish, and now manager Dave Martinez has a variety of relievers at his disposal.
“We have a very wide range of types of pitchers in our bullpen with (Wander) Suero and (Tanner) Rainey, as well, and obviously Doo and Will,” Hudson said. “There’s a lot of different looks coming at you. I feel like we kind of complement each other well, and obviously to be a part of that, hopefully the back end of that bullpen, is exciting, as well. ”
Harris, who came from the Astros, agreed to a $24 million, three-year deal. The Nationals this offseason also signed infielder Starlin Castro and first baseman Eric Thames and inked World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg to a long-term contract.
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