PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates reinforced the back end of their bullpen by agreeing on Monday to sign hard-throwing right-hander Daniel Hudson to a two-year contact, an industry source confirmed.
Hudson's contract is worth $11 million with $1.5 million worth of incentives based on games finished, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who first reported the agreement. The club has not commented on or confirmed the deal.
Hudson, who turns 30 in March, was 3-2 with a 5.22 ERA in 70 appearances this past season, his second full campaign since undergoing consecutive Tommy John surgeries. He is likely to begin the season as Pittsburgh's setup man, slotting between returning closer Tony Watson and hard-throwing left-hander Felipe Rivero, who was acquired in July in the trade that sent former closer Mark Melancon to the Nationals.
Hudson struck out 58 batters and walked 22 in 60 1/3 innings for the D-backs this year. His ERA spiked in June (9.00) and July (19.29), but he finished strong by recording a 1.66 ERA over his final 25 appearances from Aug. 5-Oct. 2.
Hudson's 3.81 FIP was more than a run below his ERA, indicating he could return to the solid season he put together in 2015, when he posted a 3.86 ERA with 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings. The right-hander averaged 95.7 mph on his four-seam fastball this year, and he also offers a two-seamer, changeup and slider.
The Pirates seem to have one too many left-handers in their bullpen with Watson, veteran Antonio Bastardo, starter/long reliever Wade LeBlanc and Rule 5 Draft pick Tyler Webb. However, Watson and Bastardo will be free agents after next season, and the Bucs have reportedly listened to offers for both pitchers this offseason.
If neither is traded, Pittsburgh could open next season with a back-end trio of Watson, Hudson and Rivero. That would free up right-hander Juan Nicasio -- earmarked for a setup role if Pittsburgh couldn't find another fit -- to serve as a multi-inning swingman and lead a middle-relief corps that also includes Bastardo and ground-ball specialist Jared Hughes.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.