Daniel Hudson last pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 24, 2022. He suffered a torn ACL during a game against the Atlanta Braves and missed the remainder of the season. But that didn't stop the Dodgers from guaranteeing him a salary for the 2023 campaign.
Hudson was making an encouraging recovery from his ACL surgery but then developed ankle tendinitis that slowed his timetable. He was expected back in late April. Whoops ... not even close. He was "making progress" in his rehab ... until he wasn't.
In the beginning of April, after previously receiving positive updates, Dodgers fans received news from manager Dave Roberts that Hudson's knee wasn't recovering the way the team had hoped. A couple weeks later, he was transferred to the 60-day injured list.
A couple weeks ago, Roberts revelaed that Hudson's knee still wasn't fully healthy and that there was no timetable for his return. So why should anybody be encouraged by his recent bullpen session, one that was made possible after he received a cortisone injected in his surgically-repaired knee?
If the Dodgers are counting on Hudson providing meaningful contributions in 2023, then they perhaps haven't learned from the various instances that have blown up in their face over the last couple years.
Dodgers' Daniel Hudson still struggling with injuries in 2023
Tommy Kahnle. Danny Duffy. Jimmy Nelson. Blake Treinen. Yency Almonte. Phil Bickford. Cole Hamels. Dellin Betances. And the jury's still out on JP Feyereisen and Alex Reyes. Hudson's making $6.5 million this year and has a team option for 2024. Treinen is making $8 million this year and has a team option for 2024. Reyes is making $1.1 million this year with a team option for 2024. Nelson is making 1.2 million this year.
That's $17.8 million for guys who might not even throw a pitch for LA in 2023. But Hudson's case is particularly troubling because of how he was more seriously forecasted into this year's plans with his originally optimistic timetable for return.
At this point, he's been forced back to square one multiple times since spring training. And the fact he needed a cortisone injection doesn't portend he's on the other side of his knee issues.
With Alex Vesia, Bickford and Almonte weighing the bullpen down, in addition to a banged up rotation getting no help from Noah Syndergaard and Gavin Stone (when he was here to fill in), the Dodgers need more proven commodities rather than another high-upside risk. Hudson remains a gamble even though he came aboard without that label. The Dodgers should know how these things trend poorly by now.