Not that long ago, it looked like Dakota Hudson was pitching himself into being a candidate for the back-end of the rotation, Cardinals' bullpen, or next man up for St. Louis in 2024.
Since that hot stretch when he rejoined the Cardinals rotation, Hudson is struggling again, and I'm not sure it makes a ton of sense to keep him for the 2024 season. The biggest reason why has to do with his contract.
Hudson is making $2.65 million this year and is entering his last year of arbitration this offseason, where that will jump to north of $3 million at the minimum. Every dollar is going to count for St. Louis this offseason, so trading or non-tendering Hudson to add salary flexibility makes a lot of sense.
Drew Rom and Matthew Liberatore will both make less than $1 million next year, and other internal arms can fight for those depth innings as well. Rather than paying Hudson to be one of the names in that mix, they could put that $3 million toward a bullpen piece that may be more impactful for them in 2024 than Hudson could be.