SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants were working Monday to finalize agreement on a $23 million, two-year contract with free agent right-hander Tim Hudson.
San Francisco assistant general manager Bobby Evans said nothing had been completed but the sides were close. The deal, expected to be reached later Monday, would bring Hudson back to the Bay Area, where he pitched for the Oakland Athletics as a member of the “Big Three” with Mark Mulder and Barry Zito beginning in the late 1990s.
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.
“I’m pumped,” Giants lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt said by text message. “Great signing for us. Competitor and innings eater. Knows how to win!”
Hudson was hurt July 24 in New York when the Mets’ Eric Young Jr. inadvertently stepped on the back of the pitcher’s lower right leg while Hudson covered first base.
San Francisco, which missed the playoffs this year after winning the World Series in 2010 and ‘12, is seeking another starter to join Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum in a rotation losing Zito and probably also free-agent righty Ryan Vogelsong.
Cain and Bumgarner are signed long term, while Lincecum received a $35 million, two-year deal last month.
Hudson spent his first six major league seasons with the A’s, who selected him in the sixth round of the 1997 amateur draft out of Auburn.
Oakland traded Hudson to the Braves in December 2004 and he pitched nine seasons in Atlanta. The three-time All-Star earned NL Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2010 after he returned from elbow ligament replacement surgery to go 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA. He had surgery for a herniated disk in November 2011.
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 for 2014. Vogelsong’s $6.5 million option for 2014 was declined by the club.
Hudson is 205-111 in a 15-year career and was coming off a $36 million, four-year contract.
After snapping a career-worst 10-game winless streak with a 13-4 victory July 6 at Philadelphia, Hudson went 4-0 with a 3.10 ERA in his last four starts.
Hudson will pitch to 2012 NL MVP and batting champion Buster Posey, who is signed through 2021. Right fielder Hunter Pence was given a $90 million, five-year contract before the season ended.