Once the older two girls settled in, and the baby was situated, Daniel Hudson and his wife, Sara, started to think about what just happened.
The Nationals, Hudson’s third team of 2019, worked through October all the way to Game 7. He finished the season with a slider under Michael Brantley’s bat to make Washington World Series champions for the first time. From the end of the regular season to the finish of the postseason, Hudson became a closer and national storyline. His decision to skip Game 1 of the National League Championship Series in order to attend the birth of his third daughter rambled into the national dialogue. The month was, in a nutshell, a lot.
“That type of stuff doesn’t happen too often to people,” Hudson said on a conference call Tuesday. “We considered ourselves very fortunate to have a really good strong support system around us.”
Part of that goodwill brought Hudson back to the Nationals' bullpen on a two-year, $11 million deal this offseason. He, like many, thought his odds of returning were diminished, if not done, when the Nationals signed Will Harris. But, the sides kept talking, Washington came back to him, and a second year on the contract assured his return plus a chance to further haggle with Yan Gomes.
Hudson’s slider ended up in Gomes’ mitt. While Hudson was removing his glove and throwing it in celebration, Gomes slipped the baseball into his roomy back pocket and went to meet Hudson near the mound. Gomes has retained the ball since.
Both attended Jeremy Hellickson’s wedding in Iowa last weekend. There, Hudson rebooted the discussion about how to co-own the ball. He wants a piece of it, somehow.
“I asked him if he still had it, and he said yes,” Hudson said. “I don’t know exactly what he plans on doing with it. I told him I want half of it at some point if we can maybe cut it in half or something, depending on what he feels like he needs to do. I’m not exactly sure where he’s got it.
“Negotiations are ongoing. Maybe we can work something out where we can have joint custody.”
His new deal will allow those talks to continue in West Palm Beach. Two years of commitment means he will be paid through his 35th birthday. Hudson said he knew his age and injury history were not on his side when asking for multiple years, but credited the Nationals for the offer which made him and his family even more sure he wanted to return.
“Recreating what we had is going to be tough, but I felt like I wanted to be a part of that,” Hudson said. “From the beginning of free agency I made it known to my agent I’d be open to going back, luckily they still had the interest in me as well. Like I said, I feel like the window to keep winning in D.C. is definitely still open and I’d like to be a part of that still.”
Now, about that ball...
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