What’s the right price for another year of Tim Hudson’s services? He made $9 million in 2013, which was a reasonable-but-not-lavish salary for a starting pitcher of his pedigree. But now he’s a starting pitcher who will turn 39 in July and who’s coming off a broken ankle. He's also a free agent.

The Atlanta Braves could fill out their rotation with younger and cheaper arms, which would render Hudson, even at somewhere south of $9 million, a bit of an extravagance. But what if Brandon Beachy, who was slow to return from Tommy John surgery, needs even more time? What if young Alex Wood isn’t quite ready?

Keith Law of ESPN Insider lists Hudson as the starting pitcher with the most value among free agents, writing: “He's a mid-rotation starter with the potential to pitch like a No. 2 for a time, and a fit for any club with solid infield defense.” Law has Hudson as No. 21 on his list of best available free agents; R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus puts Hudson at No. 25.

At 38-going-on-39, Hudson won’t be seen by any club as a long-term answer. For a team in need of a good starting pitcher to get it through 2014, he’d be a reasonably affordable option.

Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Kansas City Royals, where all Braves eventually land, and the Cleveland Indians are interested in Hudson. The Braves have said they’d like to keep him, and he said in August he wants very much to stay. But money is a powerful motivator, and the local club could get outbid.

With so much young pitching, it’s hard to imagine the Braves offering Hudson more than another contractual year. It’s less hard to imagine the Royals or the Indians, teams that broke above .500 last season and are looking to climb higher, doing whatever it takes to stabilize a rotation. Two years at $20 million? Could happen somewhere. Won’t happen here.