AUBURN, Ala. — Tim Hudson has one year left on the two-year contract he signed with the San Francisco Giants last November.
Once that contract ends next season, the 39-year-old hurler said he'll likely hang up his cleats for good.
"I'm pretty sure that's going to be it after this season," Hudson said Tuesday during an interview at Auburn's Athletic complex. "I just started my workouts yesterday, which is kind of crazy to me. Just two weeks ago I was still playing and here I am having to get back ready for next season again. I guess that's the price you pay when you play that late into the season come playoff time. But I'm going to work my tail off this offseason to get ready to go on to spring training in as good a shape as I can be and hopefully finish (next) season strong."
If Hudson does indeed retire after next year, it would bring a 17-year career in the MLB to a close. In 16 seasons to this point — split between the Oakland A's (six years; 1999-2004), Atlanta Braves (nine years; 2005-13) and the Giants (one year; 2014) — the Columbus-born Hudson has compiled a sterling 214-124 career record. His winning percentage (.6331) is seventh-best among active pitchers, and second among those with at least 10 years of experience, trailing only C.C. Sabathia (.6361) of the New York Yankees.
All the success he's had during his time in the big leagues is still hard for Hudson to wrap his mind around, though.
"It's been an unbelievable career for me. I never dreamt I'd play 16 years in the big league, going on my 17th," he said. " ... It's going to be hard to duplicate the season that we had last year, but I think we have guys in the locker room in San Francisco that can do it. I know I'm going to be ready to go.
Though he finished just 9-13 this year, Hudson had a spectacular first half of the season, going 7-6 with a 2.87 earned run average, numbers good enough to land him on the National League All-Star team as a replacement for teammate (and fellow pitcher) Madison Bumgarner.
He was also the Giants' starter in Game 7 of this year's World Series; he lasted just an inning and a third, however, after allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits.
Coming off such a solid 2014 campaign, Hudson admitted it's strange to think about not playing baseball anymore.
But he has no regrets.
"I'm happy, honestly. Over the years, it's gotten to be a lot tougher than it was when I was younger, there's no question about it," he said. "The older you get, your skills diminish a little bit and it seems like all the younger players that come up in the big leagues nowadays, they're really good at a really young age. The game will let you know when you need to retire. Last year was a little bit of a grind for me at the end of the year. But I'm excited about getting ready for this year and finishing my career on a positive note and hopefully winning another championship. Obviously, that's why we play the game. But I couldn't ask for a better group of guys out there in San Francisco to finish my career up with."
As for what he'll do in retirement, Hudson didn't hesitate: He wants to spend more time with his family, his son in particular.
"He's going to be 10 in May, and I'm excited to catch up with him, coach his Little League teams, spend some time with them," he said. "You know, I love baseball. Baseball's always going to be in my blood, in my DNA, and something I'm always going to want to be a part of, whether it's coaching him or volunteering somewhere or helping young kids. I enjoy teaching the game and I enjoy trying to explain to kids — whether it's high school or college — how to be successful."