Earlier today in an appearance on Mike Francesa’s show, Yanks GM Brian Cashman all but admitted that Phil Hughes will not be moved back into the rotation this year. I echo what Joe said to me earlier about this: “I’m glad I came to grips with that earlier in the year.” In general, there are two problems with leaving Hughes in the bullpen: 1) the team needs another starter, and 2) he’ll be stuck on an innings limit again next year. The first part is most certainly true, there’s not denying that. But what about those innings?
Hughes has thrown 84.1 IP this year between the majors and minors. As a full-time reliever in the months of June and July, Hughes threw 13 and 14.2 IP, respectively. If we assume he’ll work 14 innings in both August and September, that would put him at 112.1 IP on the season, his most since throwing a career high 146 IP in 2006 and 42.2 IP more than he threw last year. Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA adjusted standings say the Yanks have a better than 93% of chance of making the postseason, but even if we assume zero playoff innings for Hughes and he finishes the season in that 110-120 IP range, he’d be good for 150 innings or so next year. That’s … not terrible. Not ideal, but better than I thought it would be.