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Pirates sign free agent reliever Hudson for 2 years, $11 million

| Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, 5:27 p.m.
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The Pirates signed former Diamondbacks reliever Daniel Hudson to a two-year, $11 million deal Monday.

With their first significant move of the offseason, the Pirates on Monday finalized a contract with free-agent reliever Daniel Hudson, sources confirmed to the Tribune-Review.

Hudson, 29, signed a two-year, $11 million deal to bolster the back end of the bullpen. The right-hander spent the past six seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Pirates have not yet announced the signing. However, on Monday afternoon, Hudson tweeted a thank-you message to D'backs fans that ended with: “I'm excited and grateful for this new opportunity with the Pirates. Let's do this Pittsburgh!! Raise it!”

After recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2013, Hudson had nine saves and 37 holds over the past two seasons.

In 70 appearances this year, Hudson put up a 5.22 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. However, he also averaged 8.77 K/9 with a fastball that averaged 95.7 mph.

Hudson was a starter early in his career and in 2011 went 16-12 with a 3.49 ERA over 33 starts. After having two reconstructive elbow surgeries, he has reinvented himself as a reliever.

The Pirates have been seeking a right-handed setup man to pair with hard-throwing lefty Felipe Rivero and closer Tony Watson.

Watson, 31, took over the closer's role at the end of July when Mark Melancon was traded. Watson, a left-hander, converted 15 of 20 save opportunities.

After making $3.45 million this past season, Watson is in his final year of arbitration eligibility. That makes him a candidate to be moved before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.

“You've always got to consider that, once you get a few years into your career,” Watson said. “If you're fortunate to play long enough, you get into the business side of things. It's a good thing and a bad thing. I can't really control it. I love it here, (the Pirates are) all I've known … but it is a business.”

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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