"We felt like the strength of our ballclub was our starting rotation last year," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "We wanted to continue to have that strength…. We feel like now it gives us ability to go out and continue to mold our club.
"Quite frankly we don't know what that's going to look like opening day, but it's starting to take form. Signing Tim allows us to take the next step."
With Hudson back, the Braves have a surplus of starting pitchers and will likely step up efforts to trade one from the veteran trio of Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez or Kenshin Kawakami.
"This does give us the depth and strength in one area of our club that allows us to do some other things now," Wren said. "We're going to be looking at that over the next three to four weeks as we lead into the winter meetings.
"I think we're a work in progress in that regard, still in feeling-out process with other clubs. This is the first step to it, and now we have some additional direction."
Lowe would presumably be the most challenging to move, since he has three years and $45 million left on his contract and is coming off one of his worst seasons, which included a 4.67 ERA and only 111 strikeouts in 194-2/3 innings.
Vazquez, who had one of the best seasons by any major league pitcher, is owed $11.5 million in 2010 before becoming eligible for free agency. The Braves would prefer to keep him, but he might be the only one of the three older pitchers they could trade and get top young talent back in return.
The Braves want to add a right-handed power hitter, and Vazquez is attractive enough to possibly bring a power bat in return.
Regardless of trades, the Braves figure to have one of baseball's top rotations featuring Hudson, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson.
Hudson's .655 winning percentage ranks 12th in major league history among pitchers with at least 200 decisions, and fourth among active pitchers, behind Pedro Martinez (.687), Roy Oswalt (.662) and Roy Halladay (.661).
Hudson has a 121-5 record in games in which he received four or more support runs, and 106-2 when he's been provided with a lead of three runs or more. His ratio of .72 home runs allowed per nine innings pitched ranks third among active pitchers, behind Mariano Rivera (.50) and Brandon Webb (.63).