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Dodgers finalize 1-year deal with Daniel Hudson

LHP Andrew Vasquez designated for assignment to make roster room

Los Angeles Dodgers v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The Dodgers on Tuesday night made official their contract for relief pitcher Daniel Hudson, signing the right-hander to a one-year deal. He takes the 40-man roster spot opened on Tuesday when pitcher Andrew Vasquez was non-tendered, making the left-hander a free agent.

This is Hudson’s second go-around with the Dodgers. He was with them in 2018, though he missed the final six weeks of the season with forearm tightness. Hudson had Tommy John surgeries — in 2012 and 2013 — but since then, and after switching from starting to relief, he’s been reasonably durable. Outside of that 2018 injured list stint and missing four weeks in 2020 with elbow inflammation, Hudson has mostly answered the bell. Since the start of 2015, Hudson is 14th in the majors with 389 games pitched, which averages out to roughly 61 appearances per 162 games.

Hudson, who got the win for the Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium, saved four games during Washington’s championship run, and recorded the final three outs in Game 7 of the World Series, had one of his best years on the mound in 2021. The right-hander had a 3.31 ERA, 3.30 xERA, and 3.21 FIP in 54 games with the Nationals and Padres, with 75 strikeouts against 16 walks in 51⅔ innings.

Hudson’s 35.7-percent strikeout rate was the best of his career, and ranked ninth among major league relievers with at least 50 innings.

Regardless of roster depth, acquiring bullpen arms is a never-ending endeavor, perhaps especially so with Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Corey Knebel, and (a rehabbing) Jimmy Nelson all free agents. The general practice has been to bring in as many pitchers as possible and see who sticks.

The Dodgers currently have Blake Treinen ($9 million), Hudson (exact figure not yet reported, other than around $7 million), and Tommy Kahnle ($3.475 million) under contract for 2022. Caleb Ferguson, who like Kahnle missed all of 2021 after Tommy John surgery, is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time. Treinen and Hudson have closing experience.

Also in the fold are trusted arms Alex Vesia and Phil Bickford, with former trusted arm Victor Gonzalez and a handful of others who pitched in the majors last year. David Price (Dodgers responsible for $16 million) is also around, with a role to be determined.