Who I would trade Phil Hughes for: AL Edition

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Based on a recent Twitter conversation, yesterday I took a look at the National League for players that I would trade Phil Hughes for. Today I’m back with the American League.

Baltimore Orioles
I might be in the minority on this one but I’d trade Hughes for Brian Matusz. He’s lefty, younger than Hughes and just put up a very good season as a rookie. A year younger than Hughes, he outperformed Hughes in both bWAR and fWAR. I’m on the fence on Matt Wieters but will say no for now. He hasn’t been Johnny Bench reincarnated as many had predicted, but he’s been decent his first two years in the league and should still develop into a solid player. He’s not a sure thing though, so I’d stick with Hughes. Would the Orioles trade Matusz for Hughes? No. Would they trade Wieters for Hughes? I don’t think so, they have some solid young pitchers and Wieters probably fills a bigger need.

Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester is a no brainer. I’d lean towards no on Clay Buchholz, but the argument certainly could be made. Dustin Pedroia would likely be a yes if the Yankees didn’t already have the best second baseman in the AL. You could also make an argument for Kevin Youkilis, but he’s on the wrong side of 30, isn’t very durable, and wouldn’t fit a need for the Yankees. Would the Sox trade Lester for Hughes? No.

Chicago White Sox
John Danks is just a year older than Hughes but has 3 seasons better than Hughes’ 2010. This is a close one, but since Danks is lefthanded, I would make the trade. It’s pretty close and I’d consider that the tiebreaker, especially in Yankee Stadium. Would the White Sox trade Danks for Hughes? Doubtful.

Cleveland Indians
Shin-Soo Choo, like his Ohio counterpart Jay Bruce would be too good to pass up, despite a lack of glaring need. Since getting a chance in 2008, Choo has been a beast, putting up a 144 OPS+ with wOBA’s of .402, .389, and .388 the past three years. You could sway me on Carlos Santana, but coming off a pretty nasty leg injury and duplicating what Montero might bring (if you think he’s sticking at catcher), I don’t think I’d make this trade if I’m the Yankees. Would the Indians trade Choo for Hughes? I think they probably would as Choo will soon get expensive in arbitration.

Detroit Tigers
Despite a lack of a need and a big contract, Miguel Cabrera would be a no-brainer. Justin Verlander would also be no-brainer. Would Detroit trade either of these two for Hughes? No.

Kansas City Royals
Zack Greinke is a no brainer. I would not trade Hughes for Joakim Soria though. Some people would, I wouldn’t. As a starter expect Hughes to provide more value going forward for less money. Would the Royals trade Greinke for Hughes. No. Would they trade Soria for Hughes? They should if that offer came across their table, but being the Royals they likely wouldn’t.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
I’m pretty torn on both Dan Haren and Jered Weaver (primary for financial reasons) but I think I’d pull the trigger on Weaver but not on Haren. Weaver is younger and cheaper than Haren and is coming off an outstanding 2010 season. Would the Angels trade Weaver for Hughes? No. Would they trade Haren for Hughes? Yes.

Minnesota Twins
Joe Mauer and Francisco Liriano are easy ones. You could argue Justin Morneau but I think I’d keep Hughes. Would the Twins trade Mauer or Liriano for Hughes? No.

Oakland A’s
Brett Anderson? Yes. Trevor Cahill? No. Would the A’s trade Anderson for Hughes? No.

Seattle Mariners
King Felix. Enough said. Would the Mariners do it? Of course not.

Tampa Bay Rays
David Price is easy as is Evan Longoria (would love to have that contract). That’s probably it from the Rays. The Rays would not trade either of them for Hughes.

Texas Rangers
If Cliff Lee had a contract I would trade Hughes for him. Since he’s a soon to be free agent I wouldn’t, and hypothetically if you could have gotten Lee for Hughes in July, I don’t make the trade. Josh Hamilton is a yes. You could argue Neftali Feliz if you thought you could put him back in the rotation and then be better than Hughes, but I’m not willing to go out on that limb. The Rangers wouldn’t trade Hamilton for Hughes.

Toronto Blue Jays
I’m not the biggest Ricky Romero fan but as a lefty I’d consider this trade but in the end I’d stick with Hughes. Brandon Morrow has (ridiculous) upside and came on strong last year but is still volatile. Hughes to me is more of a sure thing going forward, but Morrow could be better if everything goes well. I’d stick with Hughes.

With my 25 guys in the NL and 15 in the AL I have 40 players in the majors now I would trade Hughes for. How about you?

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  • Danny

    Great blog man! I agree with most of it. I don’t see any of those deals happening though. Plus its not like we have a ready made pitching replacement for Hughes. He still has a big upside and I think he has proven he can handle the big stage. I’d rather keep him. Even as a number 4 or 5 pitcher he’s better then most other 4 or 5 pitchers.

    • BigLou

      Right on..we’ve watched Hughes come up and go down and win and lose and learn to be a big league pitcher….18 wins ain’t peanuts…I die with his dismal post season but the team was out to lunch so you can’t really say he can’t pitch in the post season. I want to watch him grow and become aYankee stalwart and join the Yankee greats. He’s got the stuff and he is so young!

  • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

    Disappointed with no Smoak-like bat joke slipped in there somewhere.

    Nothing glaring sticks out so that means I pretty much agree- the whole “Trade Hughes-Player X then swap X for a better SP” game gets tricky though.

  • batman

    phil is a legit american badass, im thinking like this generations andy pettite. promise you in 8 years guys like dan (if thats his real name) wont ever think of trying to legitamize trading him for scrubs like edwin jackson. remember batman said it first

    • batman

      obviously with the professional guidance of RAB and many many many hours of extra curricular activity

  • JAG

    It’s funny how everyone says the AL is tougher and yet from these two posts it seems evident that the NL has better star talent. Perhaps the AL just averages better (worse highs but also better lows) than the NL? I mean, I get teh DH vs. Pitcher thing, but it certainly seems as though most of the best players are NL talents.

    Anyway, back to the topic, I pretty much agree on the list. Not really sure I’d be on board with Romero, Matusz or Weaver but I can see the arguments. I think I’d probably do the deal for Pedroia, since he’s still a great defensive 2B, possibly better than Cano, and still a decent bat (although not nearly as good outside Fenway). You’d probably have to either explore moving Cano to 3rd and DHing ARod or flipping one of Pedroia or Cano for a starting pitcher, but that’s pretty much what you’d have to do for a lot of the other guys on this list so I don’t see the difference there.

    Do you think if Kendry Morales hadn’t broken his leg he’d be up there too? Two seasons like the one he had last year would push him closer to that elite territory for me.

    • Hughesus Christo

      The NL makes a lot of players LOOK better, which is a point that probably should have been made about part 1 of this piece.

  • Phil

    My God why did you write this? With all that will happen this off season you write an article saying would I trade Hughes for ….?

    I only have so much time to read about sports.

    Make it count or lose a reader.

    • batman

      mr. hughes?

    • Carlosologist

      The offseason hasn’t started but OK.

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      That’s the problem, you just read the title and the story behind the article.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Take it easy. It’s a long offseason and the writers need to pace themselves. These hypothetical trade articles are interesting and stir discussion, which is obviously the goal.

    • steve (different one)

      If you read yesterday’s piece, you would know that this was written in direct response to a tweet by Marc Feinsand.

      That’s why. I guess without that context, it would seem a little out of the blue, but the background was there yesterday.

  • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

    Jennings (maybe)
    Cliff Lee
    The King
    Jered Weaver

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      Why would you trade Phil Hughes for Kyle Drabek?

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      …or Hellickson?

    • Slugger27

      you would seriously give up hughes for hellickson?

    • MikeD

      If you’re trading Hughes for Drabek or Hellickson, you’re buying into the dream of what they might be, yet even that doesn’t make sense. Hughes was a better prospect than either when he was in the minors, and he has actually picthed well on the MLB level.

  • Doug

    How about BJ Upton? I know some of his metrics have been heading in the wrong direction, but he’s still only 26 and plays arguably the most important position on the field….and plays it well.

    • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

      It’s tough but it’s hard to say if he can put all his talent together. I’d be down to getting him but Hughes is proving himself to be a great pitcher. I wouldn’t risk Hughes.

    • Reggie C.

      No. BJ Upton’s question marks in his offensive game (plate discipline and projectable power) are still too volatile to reconcile trading a potential #2 starter.

  • candyforstalin

    oh, c’mon. i know they’re soxs players but pedroia and youkilis are both no brainers. and it’s not even close.

    • whozat

      It’s not in a vacuum, though. You have to take role on the team, age and contract into account. Do the Yankees need a 31 year old 1B that makes some cash more than they need Hughes?

      • candyforstalin

        yeah. let’s forget that it’s a 31 year old 1b signed for the next 3 years (one of them an option) for 13m/year who had a woba north of .400 for last 3 years and plays good defence.

        • Carlosologist

          I wonder how that Mark Teixeira and his career .388 wOBA are doing these days. Last I heard they were on the Long Island Ducks or some other independent league team.

          • candyforstalin

            ’cause with youkilis you couldn’t get anything way better than hughes.

  • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

    Have the Rangers indicated that they will at least consider moving Feliz back to the rotation? If I’m the Rangers, I tell Neftali to come to ST prepared to start, even if they end up not starting him during the ’11 season.

  • David in Cal

    To me, the point of this analysis is that Hughes is so valuable to the Yanks, there are few players they’s trade him for. I agree. At this moment the Yanks have only 2 reliable starter pitchers for 2011. They can ill-afford to give up one of them.

  • sal

    So fast math says Phil is in the top 10% of players. Not bad for a young guy.

    Who I would trade Robinson Cano for

    Miguel Cabrera – No
    Evan Longoria -No
    Joe Mauer-Maybe
    Albert Pujols-Yes
    Joey Votto-Maybe
    Félix Hernández -Maybe
    Adrian Gonzalez Maybe

    • I Am Not The Droids You’re Looking For

      That list is too short IMO, even taking into accept Robbie’s extra value as a middle infielder.

      • JAG

        Agreed. I absolutely love Cano but if the Rays offered to trade Longoria for him I’d do it in a heartbeat. Miguel I can agree with, but Felix is a no brainer as well. The biggest names I see missing from that list are Tulowitzki and Hanley. If they were offered straight up for Cano I’d find out if a verbal agreement is ok b/c having it in writing might take too long.

        Cano is valuable, for sure, and the list is indeed short, but everyone’s available in the right deal.

        • poster on another computer who happens to be a deuce bag

          Tulo and Hanley I’d say Abso-fucking-lutely.

          Longoria? Meh, that one’s close. I’ll have to think about it.

          • JAG

            What swings it for me with Longo is his contract. He’s guaranteed $17.5M with options that bring it up to $44M over nine (9!!!!) years. That’s insane. The guy will give you 80% or more of ARod’s production for a fraction of the cost. Like I said, no brainer for me.

          • steve (different one)

            how is Longoria “close”? Longoria is so valuable that if the Yankees traded Hughes for Longoria, they could turn around the next day and trade Longoria back to the Rays (after their GM sobered up) for Hughes, Hellickson, and Upton….

            • candyforstalin

              this is about cano. though it’s not close at all.

              • steve (different one)

                fail for me.

    • candyforstalin

      i wouldn’t trade cano for pujols. for longoria i’d send him covered in gold.

    • poster on another computer who happens to be a deuce bag

      I’d say yes to Joe Mauer, Felix Hernandez and Pujols.

      Joey Votto is close but I’m gonna say no.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    You forgot Edwin Jackson, Steve.

    • yankees1717

      is edwin jackson dan the same as bobby wahl dan?

    • FIPster Doofus


  • don draper

    Carlos Gonzalez.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Doesn’t play in the AL.

    • whozat

      And was, therefore, discussed in yesterday’s piece about NL players.

    • MikeD

      I wouldn’t trade Hughes for Gonzalez. Zero plate discipline. A product of Denver. He’d never produce those numbers outside of Coors, and in the AL. That’s not to say he couldn’t be a productive MLB player, but not enough to trade a 24-year-old starter with Hughes’ upside.

      • JAG

        To be fair, a lefty hitter with power can thrive at Yankee Stadium as well. I’m sure you’ve notice the short porch. Gonzalez’s speed and defensive ability are hard to fake as well. He may not be top 3 MVP quality, but he’s only 24-25 also and has lots of ability to improve. He reduced his platoon splits this year considerably and he’s got as much upside as Hughes. I’d have to look a lot more at his career and season numbers to say whether I’d do the trade, but I wouldn’t be so quick to write him off.

        • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

          2010 Home: .380/.425/.737 (300 ABs) 25 BB, 54 K
          2010 Away: .289/.322/.453 (287 ABs) 15 BB, 81 K

          2009 Home: .305/.361/.582 (141 ABs) 12 BB, 27 K
          2009 Away: .263/.344/.467 (137 ABs) 16 BB, 43 K

        • MikeD

          I was being fair. That’s why I mentioned he could be a productive MLB player away from Denver. As Zack’s chart shows, he’s pretty pedestrian away from Denver, so I wouldn’t trade a young starting pitcher of Hughes’ ability for him.

  • Slugger27

    i wouldnt give up hughes for miggy. i know hes a badass, but hes signed for over 100M for the next 5 years. thats a LOT of money for nothing but a DH. and in 2014 and 2015 it means we’d be stuck playing arod in the field too.

    hughes is 1 of 2 reliable pitchers signed for our 2011 team. i wouldnt make that number go down to 1 to get a 20M/year DH signed long term

  • Brad

    I would trade Hughes for Gio Gonzales…I think he is on verge of becoming a top 10 pitcher in AL.

  • Avi

    Very poor article. Better to post nothing.
    I found RAB this summer and have loved it for it’s spot on analysis.
    I’m amazed the authors allowed this to be posted.
    If articles like this continue to be posted, RAB will loose it’s popularity quickly.

    • pete

      why is this a poor article?

    • Betty Lizard

      I’m amazed the authors allowed this to be posted.

      I’m not. It’s a way of looking at Hughes’ value–and the relative values of other “assets” on other teams–and thinking about how they might be deployed. That’s interesting speculation to me.
      Especially in what is very soon to be the off-season.

      And it’s an open-ended type topic that engenders discussion and disagreement, iIt got you to post, did it not?

      Now, if RAB had posted an article comparing the players on the basis of their astrological signs, I could see your point.

      On the other hand, I would TOTALLY read that article.

  • dennis

    No on Cahill? he is top 5 cy young and no history of injuries like anderson

    • MikeD

      In order to trade Hughes, I’d want to believe I was getting back someone who is better. Cahill had a good year, but he has the luxury of a nice home park for pitchers, and his splits show he benefited from that park. Hughes was just the opposite. Last, Cahill’s FIP was 4.19, which suggests he was pretty lucky. Hughes regular ERA and FIP are basically the same. In other words, Hughes and Cahill pitched about the same in 2010, and add in Hughes’ better strike-out rate, and upside, there’s no logical reason to traded Hughes for Cahill.

  • Reggie C.

    No Nick Markakis? I’d do it. And i’d find a a way to trade Swish at his highest trade value.

    Down the Sept stretch, Buchholz might only have been second to Felix hernandez in terms of quality starts. I HOPE hughes can turn into Buchholz.

    • Tom Zig

      Buchholz is overrated. He’s 2 yrs older than hughes. Also look at his peripheral stats, he’s due for some regression.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        Yep, let’s not forget Buchholz’s struggles prior to this year too. Hughes might put it all together in a year or two and have a year like Buchholz’s 2010, only with, you know, the peripheral stats to back it up

    • Ray the Anti-Handle

      Buchholz 2010:
      6.22 K/9
      3.47 BB/9
      1.79 K/BB
      .265 BABIP (.292 over 360 career ML innings)
      2.33 ERA vs 3.61 FIP vs 4.20 xFIP (not saying this as gospel, but just throwing it out there)

      I’d give him another full year before passing judgment, but he’d have to improve his K/9 and BB/9 before I’d trade him for Hughes. He does get half of his balls in play on the ground, so he has that going for him.

      • candyforstalin

        He does get half of his balls in play on the ground, so he has that going for him.

        this and the fact that he has one more year of team control would make me strongly consider it. i’d be on the fence, though.

      • Accent Shallow

        Yeah, look at that K/BB ratio. Either that’s going to move to match the ERA, or the ERA is going to move to match that.

  • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S

    Phil Hughes grew up a Red Sox fan.

    • FIPster Doofus


      • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S


        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          /first time lawng time’d

  • Gonzo

    Give me Wieters and Santana (if medicals clear) every day of the week.

  • Ted Nelson

    Mostly agree with the discussion: Hughes is very valuable, but there are guys you trade him for. Would also point out that at 24 coming off his first full season as a starter and pushing his innings total… he should be *expected* to improve down the line.

    A few people, I think though, are a little quick to throw Hughes under the bus. Trading him for an unproven prospect, for example, is dangerous. Trading him for a position player would be dangerous as well: maybe you can turn around and trade player X for pitcher y… but teams aren’t often up for trading ace pitchers on a whim. Only a few aces or potential aces, at most, are likely to be available on the trade market. You trade Hughes, for example, for a player a bit better than Yankee Hitter X hoping Yankee Hitter X can be traded for a pitcher of Hughes’ caliber or better, but the package you get for Yankee Hitter X is a pitcher who ends up being worse or older than Hughes or prospects who never develop… You’ve screwed yourself by getting too cute. If it’s an obvious top, top hitter you do it, but that guy’s not offered straight-up for Hughes is all likelihood (maybe because of signability issues…). Maybe a better question is who you would trade Hughes for that has a realistic chance of being traded for Hughes…

    I don’t know if this is the case, but it also seems like pitching is scarcer than hitting. If this is the case, even though a hitters PAs will help the team more overall his marginal value would be lower because you could replace him with a slightly worse guy whereas your pitching replacement would be harder to come by.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      IIRC this series began because Feinsand, on Twitter, said that, without limitations, there were like five players he would trade Hughes for. That’s ludicrous. Even with their contracts, there are a bunch of players I’d trade Hughes for, way more than five. Point is – they’re really, really good players. A young, cost-controlled starter who’s shown a lot of promise and even some really good results at points is worth a lot, no one is arguing that.

  • Big Daddy

    Andy Pettitte > Phil Hughes

  • virginia yankee

    so why — Hughes was untouchable three seasons ago — arguments made now are same argument denigrated for a Santana deal which cost the 2008 postseason and possibly this WS – granting a more effective rotation smoothes team performance making a better postseason and still need hughes 18 wins

    what has changed — hughes or the available talent

    trade for pedroia or kinsler other kegit 2B with power and move Cano to SS – Jeter to 3B ARod to DH — ARod HIP STILL NOT RIGHT so getting him off the field enhances and extends career

    BUT still need P to win Div or WC — beat Sox — Trade hughes where do the 96 plus wins come from

    CASHMAN — need to get Younger unfortunately means he will not get a pwer corner OF — or trade Gardner at height of value

    BASEBALL is a funny game esp. in a short series — SF was worst team position by position and P was t least suspect given record in MLB weak league weak Division

  • Mike

    Lets wait until Hughes brings his era down to the 3’s. I don’t think his value is even up to Buchholz’ level yet.

    Clay Buccholz

    2.33 era
    1.20 whip