Who I would trade Phil Hughes for: NL Edition


Mark Feinsand asked on Twitter last night if there were 5 players in baseball that you would trade Phil Hughes for. Immediately the obvious answer was yes. He later followed up adding that you have to include cost, age and success in New York. He then said there are less than 20 players in the majors he would consider trading Hughes for. Off the top of my head this still seemed low, so I figured I’d scan the rosters and check it out. I’m looking at this from the Yankees perspective, not in a vacuum. Without dipping into the minor leagues as I am not a prospect expert, are there 20 (or more) guys on MLB rosters that I would trade for taking everything into consideration? Today I will address the National League, come back tomorrow for the American League.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Justin Upton is the only guy here I would trade Hughes for. While 2010 was a disappointing season for him, a 22 year old with a 111 OPS+ and 3.8 bWAR in a down season is a great commodity. Would the D-Backs trade Upton for Hughes? No.

Atlanta Braves
Jason Heyward is an absolute no-brainer. I’d also go with Brian McCann, who is probably 90% of Joe Mauer at a much lower cost. While the Yankees are stacked in the catching department, if you could trade Hughes for McCann you would, then you could flip Montero in a deal to bring back your Hughes replacement. Would the Braves make either of these trades? No.

Chicago Cubs
If the Yankees were ready to move Derek Jeter off of SS, or if Jeter was ready to move off SS himself, I’d trade Hughes for Starlin Castro. Considering the situation the Yankees are in it’s not a move I would make now, but young shortstops of Castro’s caliber are harder to find than pitching. Would the Cubs trade Castro for Hughes? No.

Cincinnati Reds
Joey Votto is a no brainer. He’s the kind of guy you’d make a spot for. Jay Bruce is just 23 years old with 68 career HR’s and is coming off a 127 OPS+, 5.3 fWAR and 4.3 bWAR season. He doesn’t fill a need with the strong Yankees outfield, but I think I’d make this trade and deal from the surplus. Would the Reds trade Votto or Bruce for Hughes? No and possibly.

Colorado Rockies
Regardless of Jeter’s situation, if you could trade Hughes for Troy Tulowitzki you do that in a heartbeat. Ubaldo Jimenez would be another easy one. You could make the argument for Carlos Gonzalez but his road splits are a huge concern. Would the Rockies trade any of these three for Hughes? No.

Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez, like Tulo would be too good to pass up regardless of Jeter’s situation. Josh Johnson is another no-brainer. Mike Stanton would also be too good to pass up. Would the Marlins trade any of these three for Hughes? No.

Houston Astros
None. The Astros are a mess.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw is a definite yes. You could argue for Andre Ethier and bringing his left handed bat to Yankee Stadium but he’s older than you may think (29 in April) and getting expensive. If you believe in upside you might consider Matt Kemp, but Kershaw is the only sure thing for me. Would the Dodgers trade Kershaw for Hughes? No.

Milwaukee Brewers
Yovani Gallardo and Ryan Braun are definites for me. I wouldn’t want to bring Prince Fielder in, pay him a bunch of money, then tell him all he has to do is hit. That’s got problem written all over it.

New York Mets
I’d probably trade Hughes for David Wright and move A-Rod to DH full time but I could be easily talked out of it. I don’t think the Mets would make the trade though.

Philadelphia Phillies
I’d take both Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels for Hughes. If the Yankees didn’t already have Cano I’d think about Utley though he’ll be 32 next year and expensive. The Phillies would not trade any of them for Hughes.

Pittsburgh Pirates
I’d consider Andrew McCutchen but I think I’d stick with Hughes. The Pirates would not make the trade however.

San Diego Padres
Adrian Gonzalez is another guy you make room for. As awesome as Mat Latos was, would I pull the trigger on a trade for Hughes? I don’t think I would (but I’d probably be wrong). Pitchers coming from the NL is always dangerous. Coming from the Padres and Petco only adds to that uncertainty. Would the Padres trade Gonzalez or Latos for Hughes? No.

San Francisco Giants
Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Buster Posey are no brainers. An argument could be made for Madison Bumgarner but I’d stick with Hughes.

St. Louis Cardinals
Albert Pujols wouldn’t fill a need and is about to get very expensive, but he’s Albert Pujols so of course I’d make the trade. Adam Wainwright and Colby Rasmus would both make the cut as well, Rasmus would force another trade from the crowded outfield but it would be worth it. Would the Cardinals trade Pujols or Wainwright for Hughes? No. Would they trade Rasmus for Hughes? I doubt it, unless Larussa really hates him and has enough pull to ship him out.

Washington Nationals
Even thought the need isn’t great, Ryan Zimmerman is and I’d trade Hughes for him. I’d also trade Hughes for Strasburg but with an eye beyond 2011 and taking a huge risk. I think the risk would be worth it as Strasburg truly has a chance to be a once in a generation type of pitcher. It’s certainly a big risk/reward situation. The Natinals would not trade either of them for Hughes.

So there we have it, I count 25 National Leaguers I would trade Hughes for if the situation presented itself. How about you? Be sure to check back tomorrow for my take on the American League.

Categories : Pitching, Players


  1. Doug says:

    Like your list, Steve.

    How about Rickie Weeks. Like you did with Utley, assuming Cano wasn’t here, would you deal Hughes for Weeks? Seemed to have finally figured it out this past season. And only just turned 28.

  2. (Insert snarky comment about who/whom here)

    But, yeah, Feinsand saying there are fewer than 20 players he’d trade Hughes for is beyond ridiculous.

    As for the David Wright thing, I know the Mets wouldn’t do it, but their fans would probably love it. Everyone seems to want to ship Wright out for not being a “leader.”

    • seimiya says:

      I know a number of fans who will personally find Sandy Alderson and break his teeth if they trade David Wright (even if it’s for something ridiculously good), so I suppose we just know different Mets fans.

      • The two logical Met fans I know don’t want him traded. And every time I listen to the radio, Mets fans seem to want to try to find a reason to dislike him.

        • Zack says:

          The radio I hear is pretty much split.
          One side wants to keep him becuase he’s homegrown and they like that cause he’ll have all the Met records or something.
          The other side wants to trade him because they think he’s not a #1 player and is unclutch- but then they want 17 top prospects in return.

    • Johnny O says:

      Imagine how good Phil Hughes would be pitching half his games in Citi Field???

    • I think he meant well, but he said he wouldn’t trade Hughes for Kershaw because Kershaw’s an NL pitcher (nevermind that most pitchers Kershaw’s age are in AA), wouldn’t trade Hughes for Mauer or Miggy, and wasn’t sure if he’d trade him for Votto.

  3. steve (different one) says:

    I love Hughes, but there may be 20 players in the AL East alone.

    No brainers:

    Others to consider with varying degrees of certainty:

    That’s about 15 without even trying. If you put a gun to my head, sure, I probably wouldn’t do all of those names, but the thing is that Hughes is already arb-eligible. Even if he is better than some of those guys RIGHT NOW, some of those other guys come with 2-3 more years of super cheap production.

    • seimiya says:

      I will straight-up vomit if I ever see Kevin Youkilis in pinstripes.

    • MikeD says:

      Most of the players on the second list would be a no. For example, why you trade Hughes for Hellickson? *Maybe* Hellickson will be a better starter than Hughes, but maybe not. Odds are Hughes has a better 2011 than him. Garza? It’s not clear to me at this point he’s better than Hughes, he’s three years older and about to get much more expensive. Joyce? Matt Joyce? Really??? There are a couple on the list that owuld have to be considered, such as Wieters.

      • steve (different one) says:

        Matt Joyce is a 25 year old OFer who just put up a 131 OPS+ in his rookie season. Is it a no brainer? No, but I don’t see how it can be dismissed out of hand. He’d be dirt cheap for another 3-4 years and allow you to trade an OFer to improve your team.

        Garza was definitely near the bottom of the list and I’d probably agree with you.

        With someone like Hellickson, the argument is all about the contract. People seem to think that Hughes is still dirt cheap when he isn’t really.

    • Kiersten says:

      Youkilis and Pedroia are certainly not no brainers considering we already have a comparable and younger first baseman and a better second baseman.

      As for the second part of your list, meh.

      • steve (different one) says:

        The point is that you make the trade b/c it would be a heist, and then you could do whatever you wanted with the assets once you have them.

        If the “rules” of the exercise are that you HAVE to keep the players, ok, I agree with you.

        • Kiersten says:

          Yeah, but would you seriously trade Teixeira and Cano to replace them with Youkilis and Pedroia? So then it doesn’t make sense.

          • steve (different one) says:

            No, I am saying I would turn around and trade youkilis or pedroia. Iow, pedroia is worth MUCH more on the trade market than Phil Hughes.

            • toad says:

              So we’re really just after a list of players better than Hughes.

              That’s fine, but it’s not a very interesting exercise, to me at least.

        • Dirty Pena says:

          I agree with you steve. Certain trades you would do no matter what, then figure out the rest later.

        • Steve H says:

          Yeah, I’m not thinking purely as an asset. I could see trading for Bruce and trading one of the current OF’s, but not necessarily trade Hughes for Youk, then flipping Youk.

          • steve (different one) says:

            That’s cool. if those are the “rules”, I’d agree that Youk wouldn’t make sense. Could Pedroia play SS?? /ducks

    • Mister Delaware says:

      Matt Joyce???

    • bonestock94 says:

      Heeell no to Markakis and Joyce. Probably wouldn’t do Zobrist. Money isn’t an issue for the Yanks.

    • Mickey Scheister says:

      I’d trade him for Morrow, Buckholtz, Lester, Price, Longoria, Morrow, Romero or Weiters from your list.

      I don’t see the value in Youk or Dusty P since the Yanks have three equal or better players at their respective postions and the other players on said list aren’t worth Hughes, IMO.

  4. Zack says:

    I disagree on Latos, I’d do that trade. He got his GB% to 44.7 this year and also has the stuff to blow by guys (averages 94 on his 4-seamer).
    So it’s not like he’s Chris Young throwing 86 and an extra fly ball pitcher.

  5. kosmo says:

    Kershaw for Hughes I would make in a second .From the Dodgers perspective I don´t see the point.
    I would make a Granderson-Hughes for Billingsley ,Kemp,Egbert and Kuo trade.

    • Reggie C. says:

      I wouldn’t trade Granderson-Hughes for anything less than a return for Clayton Kershaw. Are people really expecting Kemp to bounce-back from a very down year like Cano did? That’s too much a gamble imo, and its something the Dodgers would jump at in a heartbeat.

  6. steve (different one) says:

    You didn’t mention Aroldis Chapman. That would be a little like Strasburg: in the high risk, high reward category.

    • seimiya says:

      I honestly would not feel safe acquiring Aroldis Chapman until he hurts himself. The man just throws too goddamn hard for me to not wait until the hammer to fall. Obviously this is a terrible way to look at things, but still. 105. Man. His arm must be a freak of nature.

  7. badadvice says:

    How about we hang on to Mr. Hughes. It would be nice to see him turn into a #1 starter. If he was on the Twins , Phil, Boston or the Card’s and won 18 games we’d trade Mr Montero for him in a NY Min.

    I know this is a who would you trade Phil Hughes for and my answer is no one.

    Would you trade him for a signed 5 year deal at 100million Mr Lee?

    not me

    • steve (different one) says:

      no, we would not trade Montero for Hughes b/c he “won 18 games”.

      And really, no one? Not King Felix?

    • Jon in CUO says:

      Phil Hughes: the youngest, cheapest, fastest, strongest, most talented, most productive, most marketable, and best-looking player in Major League Baseball.

    • Reggie C. says:

      Here’s hoping Hughes puts in a 2011 campaign that puts him in the conversation with Clay Buchholz. That would truly make him untradeable. However, if Cashman believes in Greinke (as Cash should), then i’d start the trade offer with Hughes.

      There’s still alot that can go wrong with Hughes.

  8. JAG says:

    I’m not 100% on Castro, I’d like to see another year of solid performance first. Would you not move Hughes for Jurrjens or Tommy Hanson? Probably borderline also, but I’d consider it at least.

    Other than that I like the list. Feinsand really didn’t think it through if he thinks there are fewer than 20 players he’d give up Hughes for.

  9. Scott says:

    Never underestimate what the Pirates would do at the trade deadline…

  10. Andrew says:

    This is list is all ridiculous, like you stated 95% of these trades would not happen. The list we should be “Who are the realistic players the Yankees could possibly get if they were so inclined to trade Phil Hughes” (which I am not advocating for what so ever but its fun to talk about it anyways).

    • Rob H. says:

      Has nothing to do with if the trades would be realistic or not. The topic of the post is if there were 20 players in the majors you would be willing to trade Hughes for. As evidenced by the post, there obviously are more than 20 players the yankees should/could be willing to trade Hughes for. Again, has nothing to do with if those trades would actually have a chance of happening.

  11. Big Bertha says:

    Utley over Cano? Cano and Hughes are two of the good young players we have and you want to trade them away for Utley and Hamels? I agree with Andrew, this is just ridiculous. None of these proposed trades would ever happen. It’s like me making a post on how we can trade AJ Burnett for Felix Hernandez.

  12. Dirty Pena says:

    I think I’d also trade him for Edinson Volquez. He looks ready for a big rookie year next year.

  13. Camilo Gerardo says:

    Kemp/Rasmus, except we keep the Phil

  14. steve (different one) says:

    I remember earlier in the year, Mike listed 50 players he would trade Montero for.

    Would you trade Montero for Hughes if Hughes played elsewhere? I wouldn’t. So (by the transitive property of insane internet fantasy trades) that means there are prob at least 50 players you could trade Hughes for.

    I do remember that the one guy I disagreed with Mike was Billy Butler. I wouldn’t trade Montero for Butler.

  15. M-Three says:

    I don’t get why you would ever consider trading Hughes for David Wright. Wright strikes out way to much, has never gotten a clutch hit in his life and is an average at best defender. He has definitely been one of the most overrated players in baseball. I just don’t get why Mets fan think he is as good as Longoria. Wright only wishes he could be half the player Longoria is.

  16. pat says:

    Hughes and Montero for Josh Johnson…. dooooo it.

  17. Accent Shallow says:

    I was going to say something snarky about Mike Stanton’s K-rate, but the MiLB K-rate wasn’t as bad as I thought.

    However, the MLB K-rate — super yikes. No way do I trade Hughes for him.

  18. mbonzo says:

    If Montero was on another team, would you trade him for Hughes?

  19. C-Mac says:

    This list is bogus. The only guy I’d trade Hughes for is Miguel Cairo! Unless, of course, Tanyon Sturtze comes out of retirement…


  20. Tom T says:

    Matt Cain no brainer? Check the fip/xFIP. He’s a product of that park + luck + NL offenses. Not saying you’re *wrong* about being OK with that trade (I would not be), only that no brainer seems a bit strong.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      You’re selling Cain short. He has better career numbers at home, but from 2007-09 he was actually superior on the road. Plus, you can’t use xFIP as a fair means of judging Cain because he has always been able to defy it for whatever reason. He allows a lot of fly balls without giving up many HRs, and it’s not just because of AT&T Park. Cain during his career has yielded .59 HRs per game on the road and .57 at home. Not much of a difference.

  21. godfather says:

    i’ve seen better threads on bea arthur

  22. For the record, the conversation was not started by me as a suggestion that the Yankees should deal Hughes. In fact, I think they would be insane to do so.

    My point was, given their current roster, Hughes’ cost, age and the fact that, at 24, he’s already shown he has the chops to succeed in the Bronx, there are far less players that I would deal for him than you’d think.

    Adrian Gonzalez? No thanks. They have Teixeira. Don’t need him, and he’s due for a big payday. In fact, short of Votto or Pujols, there isn’t a first baseman I’d deal Hughes for right now. And even those two don’t make much sense given the Yankees roster.

    David Wright? No thanks. Again, the Yankees have a third baseman already.

    Forget about the young pitchers such as Lincecum, Johnson, etc. Obviously you’d deal Hughes for most of them, though the whole NL-AL thing might make me pause for a minute.

    The whole thing started by some ridiculous e-mail I received from a ridiculous Yankees fans telling me that the Yankees needed to deal Hughes for a “young slugger.” So I posed the question to Dan whether there were any young sluggers you would deal Hughes for, and the conversation branched out from there.

    The Yankees aren’t trading Hughes. This is one of those “folks at a sports bar” arguments.

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