A thought on trading Phil Hughes

UPDATE: Staten Island Yanks being sold, SWB Yanks being purchased
Mailbag: Robertson, Feliciano, Postseason DL

Once upon a time, we considered Phil Hughes untouchable. Taken by the Yanks with the 23rd pick of the 2004 amateur draft — a thank you gift from the Astros for signing Andy Pettitte — the right-hander with a mid-90s fastball and a killer curve was the considered to be the nation’s top high school pitcher. He also symbolized a new era in Yankee drafts. No more John-Ford Griffins or Dave Parrishes for the refocused Front Office.

Over the years, Yankee fans fanatically watched Hughes mature. They wanted to believe that he was the harbinger of an organization that would one day produce good young players in the mold of Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera. With hired mercenaries striking out in October throughout the mid-2000s, Hughes was practically considered a savior.

Brian Cashman fed the hype as he frequently declared Hughes off limits. The Nationals at one pointed wanted Hughes for Alfonso Soriano, and the Mariners in 2005 mentioned his name in a deal involving Randy Winn. “I’ve got players people ask us about other than Phil Hughes,” the Yanks’ GM said to Tyler Kepner in 2006. “People ask about him, too. I really have no interest. There are some guys you can have longer conversations about than others.”

We, of course, staked out a strong position with regards to Hughes in late 2007 when the Twins were dangling Johan Santana. Save the Big Three, we said. They’ll bring more glory than Johan Santana.

These days, though, Hughes’ star has dimmed considerably. Despite some solid results against the Mariners earlier this week, 2011 has been a lost year for Hughes. He’s made just 14 starts and sports a 6.00 ERA. His K/9 is two strike outs below his career norm, his fastball has less zip, his breaking pitches no bite. He has improved upon his dismal start, but his pitcher is a far cry from the Number 2 starter we hoped he would be by this point in his career.

Across the land, Yankee-watchers are wondering about Mr. Hughes. At 25, he should be getting better, but as Steve Goldman noted earlier this week, he’s doing the opposite. “Hughes had a 1.38 ERA through his first half-dozen starts in 2010,” Goldman wrote, “but after that his ERA was just a fraction under 5.00 and he gave up 1.6 home runs per nine innings. His line from then until now: 40 games, 209.1 innings, 223 hits, 33 home runs, 68 walks, 152 strikeouts, 5.33 ERA.” That is a lot of innings with some not-very-impressive results.

And so I wonder if Phil Hughes should be as untouchable as he once was. Recently, Jon Heyman offered up a tidbit on Hughes: “Phil Hughes is expected to move to the bullpen, and it’s possible the Yankees could consider trading him in the offseason (some see him as the next Ian Kennedy, someone who might benefit from a move out of New York).”

Of course, the Kennedy comps would come, and if Hughes is on the block, looking to the Yanks’ situation with Kennedy makes sense. For Kennedy plus others, the Yanks were able to net themselves Curtis Granderson. While Kennedy has excelled in Arizona, that’s not a bad haul at all, and it’s a trade I would be willing to make over and over again. The two situations, though, aren’t exactly alike.

When the Yanks traded Kennedy, he was nearing his 25th birthday, but the two players’ ages are about all they had in common. Kennedy had excelled in the minors but due to injury and ineffectiveness, had thrown just 59.2 innings at the Big League level. He had missed most of 2009 with an aneurysm, and the Yanks had seemingly soured on him before that due to an attitude that many said was simply too brash. Kennedy was still a prospect and not yet a project.

Hughes, on the other hand, has now amassed 441 innings in the Bronx. He’s made 71 starts, and we’ve watched his velocity decline and stuff diminish since he was moved from the setup role in 2009 to a starting role last year. And, oh yeah, he’s arbitration eligible after making $2.7 million this year. Kennedy still has another year left before he’s due for arbitration, and the Diamondbacks are paying him just $423,000.

Other teams’ fans haven’t written off Phil Hughes. The folks at Bleed Cubbie Blue said they would be happy to have him, and I’d imagine others would too. After all, a 25-year-old with Hughes’ potential is alluring. Whether he can realize that potential is something I’ve begun to doubt a bit this year.

To trade Hughes, though, the Yanks would have to fill some holes. Perhaps they could use an everyday player for the aging left side of the infielder. Perhaps they could use a young starter with potential who also needs a change of scenery. Without drawing up a complicated multi-team deal, there simply aren’t too many landing spots for Hughes or desirable pieces for the Yankees.

Maybe the Yanks and Hughes are simply stuck with each other for now. Despite his poor showing this year, he’ll get a raise for 2012, and suddenly, the Yanks are paying Phil Hughes $3-$4 million. For that, they’ll need more than an inconsistent starter with potential or a mid-inning reliever. Now if only the real Phil Hughes, whoever that may be, would please stand up.

UPDATE: Staten Island Yanks being sold, SWB Yanks being purchased
Mailbag: Robertson, Feliciano, Postseason DL
  • stuart a

    hughes has pitched basically 2 full seasons in the bronx + a month. he is 25… the jusry is out. if his stuff was better and he was just wild that would be more hopeful. his stuff is not that great(velocity or bite) not sure what they have with him…..

  • HyShai

    “Maybe the Yanks and Hughes are simply stuck with each other for now. Despite his poor showing this year, he’ll get a raise for 2012, and suddenly, the Yanks are paying Phil Hughes $3-$4 million. For that, they’ll need more than an inconsistent starter with potential or a mid-inning reliever. Now if only the real Phil Hughes, whoever that may be, would please stand up.”
    Why is his salary relevant? Why can’t the yankees eat that sort of salary and give him more time (as a project)? I mean it’s not like it will affect the Yankees spending now. And may save them money in the 2012 FA class (by not needing a 2 or 3)

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Because they’re the Yankees, it’s not really relevant, but it’s increasing and the returns aren’t. As their bullpen contracts show, they can take on a pitcher who isn’t going to give them much for a few million a year. Any other team would start to look to trade an arb-eligible guy like Hughes set to make a raise from $2.3 million.

      • Jesus Freak


        Do you miss NYC?

        Do you plan to do a blog on the Metro?

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          I haven’t left; how could I miss it?

          • Jesus Freak

            My bad. I thought your post on having a DC meet-up next year meant you relocated.

            • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

              Nah. I haven’t seen the new DC stadium yet though and will make the trip next year. I know we have a lot of readers in DC and I know a lot of NYCers will make that trip too so I thought a meetup would be fun.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/EricDKoch eric

    Pitching prospects are so hit or miss, but it’s been sad to see Phil go from a guy who I saw in person in AA who sat 93 and could dial it up to 96 when he needed fall to what he’s become now. One thing I noticed then was his arm action. I was never a fan of it. You can see here in 2006 what I am talking about:


    I told my friend who I was with that night that while his stuff looked great I don’t think with those mechanics he’s going to hold up over a long career. Who knows, maybe he turns it around with NYY or somewhere else, but his stuff is simply not what it was when I saw him in 2006.

  • Brian S.

    Freddy and Bartolo aren’t going to be here next year so we are going to need arms in our rotation. If we trade Hughes we would need to sign two starting pitchers instead of one. I am still optimistic that Huse can be a mid-rotation starter next season instead of the meatball throwing backend rotation starter he is right now.

    • Scout

      “Freddy and Bartolo aren’t going to be here next year so we are going to need arms in our rotation.” I’m not sure what your basis is for this assertion. Certainly at least one could be back; I am sure the Yankees will wait to decide, based on other post-season outcomes.

      What basis would we have for optimism that Hughes “can be a mid-rotation starter next season instead of the meatball throwing backend rotation starter he is right now”? The indicators point in the other direction, as the post points out. If we forget about the hype and simply examine his performance and stuff, nothing suggests he will be anything more than he is now — back-end of the rotation filler.

      Two considerations, though, might lead the Yankees to keep him. First, his workload last year was heavy and may have contributed ot his loss of velocity. Pitchers sometimes need a year to recover. Second, dealing him now would be trading him when his value is down, and Cashman generally prefers not to sell low.

  • mbonzo

    Hughes may have a 6.00 ERA this year, but its something necessary for a young starting pitcher. Most great starting pitchers have the ability to overpower hitters with velocity and movement, older guys are smart with their selection and can excel at placing a fastball, despite its diminished speed. Hughes is learning what guys like Mike Mussina did at the tail-end of their careers. When you combine the fact that at Hughes’ prime, he has the velocity and movement of an ace pitcher, and now that he’s had his struggle and learned to pitch with his brain rather than his arm, he’s got more potential. You might doubt the Verducci effect, but when you look at a guy like Justin Verlander, who went through the same phase as Hughes, where he struggled and learned to pitch smart, you can see what Hughes’ potential might be. Hughes won’t have the velocity of Verlander, but when you combine smart pitching with some of the best breaking pitches in the game, you can see the comparison to Verlander. 2012 will be Hughes’ make or break year, but Cashman needs to hold on to him for the sake of preaching patience. Not many starting pitchers come up and become aces, Hughes wasn’t that type, and you only have to look to this years future AL Cy Young winner to see why he could be ready to make the jump next year.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      There are a lot of reasons why I don’t think the Verlander comp is a good one from their respective stuff on down. The secret is that Hughes wasn’t really a good starter last year either before the alleged Verducci Effect innings issue cropped up this year. I’d be happy to be wrong there, but I don’t think the two situations are that similar.

      • mbonzo

        I’m always an optimist, but I see two guys who both approached the majors with similar upside. Verlander had 2 good years, with glimpses of dominating hitter. Despite Hughes’ total numbers, he dominated in the second half of 2009 and first half of 2010. Verlander and Hughes both hit that brick wall around the same age.

        So yes, Verlander had more impressive continued success as a starter, but his numbers didn’t suggest he was even close to an ace. Like Hughes, he was inconsistent. Don’t forget that from June 8th 2009 to June 8th 2010, Hughes held a 2.16 ERA.

      • http://www.twitter.com/brandonholley B-Rando

        I think this post may have come just a bit too early. If I am the Yankees, I’m wondering what some time off with a new conditioning plan will do for Philbert. I think he is most certainly experiencing some Verducci effect, and even last year we may have seen him fatigue towards the end of the year.

        The potential is still in there, whether it will show its face again has yet to be seen. If we’re two months into the season next year, and its the same thing we’re seeing now, the decision is obvious. However, if you trade him this offseason, and he goes on to have an IPK type resurgence, it would be quite a tough pill to swallow.

        • Cris Pengiuci

          I’m with you on this. I’m hopeful that with some time off after the heavy workload of 2010 and a new conditioning plan that Phil can return somewhat to what we expected of him as he was coming through the system and earlier on in the majors. Other than the “Verducci” effect, I have nothing to base this on other than pure optimism.

          • http://www.twitter.com/brandonholley B-Rando

            I too am an optimist, and maybe in some cases its a bad thing, but honestly, it makes baseball games and seasons much easier to enjoy than for some of the cliff jumpers around here.

            An offseason can make a world of difference, and if thats the last lever we have to pull with Hughes, its worth the pull! Lets see what happens, and then we can make a call on what to do with him. For me, I want to see every stoned turned in regards to Hughes before we cut bait on him.

            Thats just my $.02 on the matter.

    • forensic

      It’s always entertaining to see the stretched limits people will go to to compare Hughes to someone great now to make themselves feel better. Some people like to use Sabathia, you apparently like Verlander.

      It’s just too bad Verlander had one year where he struggled, which only came after two pretty damn impressive seasons, followed by two pretty dame impressive seasons, and now this one with his bigger breakout, none of his seasons under 186 innings. Hughes has had nothing similar to that.

      Similarly Sabathia, never had a season below average, even keeping his ERA in the lowish 4’s when he was 20 and 21. By when he was Hughes’ age, he was in the lowish 3’s for ERAs, never having pitched fewer than 180 innings.

      On the other side, Hughes has never even reached 180 innings.

      I know several of you will never be convinced of anything bad regarding Hughes since he’s the ‘great white hope’, or whatever you each chose to refer to him as, but that’s no reason to pull out terrible comparisons for him. It’s kind of funny though that none of you ever pull out the best comparison for him, probably because the thought of him reaching that kind of turn around is too hard for even the biggest fans to believe him reaching.

      • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

        I’m not going as far as to compare him to Verlander. That’s just a little ridiculous(note: it’s more than a little ridiculous).

        But he did have a huge innings increase last year, no one, even medical experts, really have any idea what happens to a pitchers arm over the course of his career. So I want to give him another year, ideally without injury or setback, before I start dumping on him. This was a disappointing year, to understate it, but the guy’s still only 25.

        There’s always a middle ground between extremes, even though this is the internet.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Phil Phuckin’ Hughes

    My thoughts: PHUCK NOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

    You gotta keep the Phaith! He’s only 25!!!

    • The Big City of Dreams

      True he’s still young but he has been given chances to show that he’s ready for prime time and when you think he is that’s when he takes a step back.

  • Avi

    Hughes and Gardner for Justin Upton.

    • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

      Throw in Nunez and you might have yourself a deal!

      • Pounder

        Agreed,but lets shot the moon and go for CarGo.

  • KenC

    lol trade him? NOO!

    He threw almost 100 more innings in 2010 than he did in 2009! Didn’t Hamels go through this phase in 2009 after throwing a career high in 2008!? I’m not saying Hughes will be dominant again, but I believe he can be a number 2 starter next year

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      I was thinking the same thing, in regards to Hamels. A lot of pitchers go through this. Will he be the ace starter everyone thought? I highly doubt it. But, I still think he can be a very good number 2 or 3. Next year should be Hughes’ make or break year. If he struggles, it may be the time to cut ties with him.

    • Max

      You said what I was going to say.

      I feel like it’s unfair to look at this season outside the context of last season’s record workload. Is 25 later than we were expecting to wait to see consistent excellence from Hughes? Probably. does that mean you give up? Definitely not. Unless we were to get something really miraculous in return, I don’t see the point in trading him. I think you need to get him to live in Rothschild’s basement all offseason and fix his curveball and build up endurance and velocity.

      If he can’t put together some promising improvements in the offseason, or if we’re going to call up the new prospects to start mid-season, then you trade him next midseason and take advantage of the lack of supply.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Wasn’t he supposed to be the number 2 this yr?

  • Jeremy K.

    “Any other team would start to look to trade an arb-eligible guy like Hughes set to make a raise from $2.3 million.”

    Considering they’re getting a 5+ ERA out of a guy like Burnett for $16M and they let him take the hill everyday, I’d rather throw $4M at Hughes and let him work at it or become a force in the bullpen again. I know you were trying to make a different kind of point about how other teams wouldn’t be so eager to take on a $4M “what-are-you-gonna-get” type of guy but Burnett is the first thing I thought of. But yes, if Hughes looks like more of the same in spring training 2012, I’d say he gets put in the pen to shore it up in Joba’s absence. Or he’ll get a kick in the ass out the door in a trade.

    • Stan the Man

      good point. Burnett is a much bigger issue than Hughes.

  • YankeesJunkie

    Considering what Phil has shown the potential to do I feel that it would be unwise to trade unless it is for a guy who has quite a bit of upside albeit in the lower levels. I find it hard to see the Yankees to get a quality SS, 3B to replace Jeter or A-Rod with Hughes and at this point those are the two biggest positions of worry. Hughes has shown that he can be competent and even great starter at time, but unless he is packaged with other players for a top caliber prospect the Yankees need to keep their pitching options as wide as possible considering everything is a mess behind CC.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    Ben said in his piece that he could get traded for a young starter with potential who may need a change of scenery. What about Kyle Drabek? He’s been TERRIBLE in AAA for the Blue Jays this year, but he’s got good stuff.

    • YankeesJunkie

      Outside of 61 innings in High A Drabek has never been more than an slightly above average pitcher. In addition, AA only does trades for absolutely steals and I don’t think that this would be considered one either.


      • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

        True. Just thought I’d throw it out there. If you put a gun to my head I’d say no to that trade. But he was highly regarded by Baseball America. He was ranked 25th overall in 2010 and 29th coming into this season.

        • YankeesJunkie

          Damn, I wish I had my Baseball America book so I could present a better argument sadly that is far away at that point. Point being is that while trading Hughes at this point does not bother me as much as say 12 months ago, I think he may better serve his purpose as a chip for an elite player or at least a player with much higher upside lower in the minors than someone that has not really dominated for any long stretch of his career. Also, the whole trading with AA thing just scares the shit out of me because AA is a legit baller of a GM and that is hopefully something we can both agree at.

          • Stan the Man

            None of AA trades have paid off yet for the Jays, they are long term deals that will hopefully save the Jays money to lure free agents, but right now the Jays are still chugging along at barely .500 ball just like they were before AA got there.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    Also, what about the Yankees trading one of their prospect catchers, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, etc, for a high upside starting pitcher straight up?

    • Brian S.

      Or we can sign Yu Darvish and Brandon McCarthy this offseason and keep our prospects.

    • mbonzo

      I highly doubt that. Anyone the Yanks could acquire for these guys straight up, someone comparable would be available in free agency. Yanks would definitely prefer to spend money than to lose prospects. Spring training will have 8 pitchers trying out for 2 or 3 spots in the rotation, I don’t think this rotation thing is as big of a deal as its made out to be.

      1. Hughes
      2. Nova
      3. Noesi
      4. Warren
      5. Mitchell
      6. Phelps
      7. Brackman
      8. Betances

      Don’t forget that Banuelos and Joba might still be in play too.

      • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

        I’ve always liked Warren, maybe he can be better than the #4 or #5 starter that I heard he’s projected to be.

        But Joba is the interesting one. If it was me, I’d have him try to start again. Usually after TJ a pitcher gains a MPH or two on his fastball, although the control/command is a little shaky once the pitcher comes back. But one of the knocks on Joba as a starter was his diminished velocity. Maybe, TJ surgery is just what he needed. If it fails (him being a starter) they could just stick him back in the ‘pen for good.

        • YankeesJunkie

          The Joba dream is dead until I see it for real once again. Also, guys like Mitchell, Phelps, and Brackman are very long stretches at the rotation next year as they have not shown the quality to start in the majors the previous year. It would beneficial for the Yankees to re sign Colon or Garcia to say a 1/5 to 1/7 deal if possible to give the Yankees at least one starter they can rely in the middle back of the rotation until Banuelos and Betances have gained enough experience at the AAA level.

          • mbonzo

            Mitchell, Warren, and Phelps haven’t even been tested at the major league level, so I don’t know how you can say they don’t show the quality to start in the majors. These guys have posted very good numbers, and have stuff that any other non-competeing organization would probably test in September. Don’t misjudge these guys and think they’re AAA players, they’ve posted low 3 to mid 2 ERA’s their whole career, and are still young.

            • YankeesJunkie

              First off, I did not mention Warren because I feel that he is better than both Phelps and Mitchell. Both Phelps and Mitchell while may be successful in the majors I see their probabilities as much less than Warren’s simply for the fact that their stuff especially their fastball do compete as well in the AL East. While that not may be fact, that is what I have perceived from their scouting reports and their appearances the last couple of years.

            • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

              If I were to guess right now, the rotation going into the 2012 season would look like this (Obviously subject to change):

              1.CC Sabathia
              2.Ivan Nova
              3.Phil Hughes
              4.A.J Burnett
              5.Adam Warren

              • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

                I think they’ll bring back one of Colon or Garcia.

                • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                  And have Warren waste time in AAA?

                  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

                    Not necessarily. There’s a chance they could bring back Colon or Garcia and they are ineffective, or maybe Hughes or Burnett go to the bullpen.

                    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                      In a perfect world I’d do that with Burnett going to the bullpen, but the odds of Girardi having the stomach to do that is slim and next to none.

                      But actually, in a perfect world, A.J Burnett would be off the roster all together.

                    • forensic

                      Or they’d continue to blow smoke about ‘Warren’s a major league pitcher for us’ and go and sign another Brian Gordon…

                  • Yankonymous

                    I just can’t see the Yanks going into 2012, feeling like they’re really gonna pack ’em in with Adam Warren 1 out of every 5 days .

                    It may be the smart move to see what we have in the organization, but this is the Yanks, they’re gonna go out and get some big names…that’s what they do.

                    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                      Then why did they give Nova a shot this year? He cracked the rotation out of Spring Training. Besides, Warren is 24 and will turn 25 next August. He’s been effective at all levels of the minors, so he’s pretty much ready. Also, I remember earlier in the year Cashman said Warren was major league ready. And remember, when the Yankees needed a starter because of the Hughes injury, and the minor injury Nova suffered in AAA, they nearly turned to Warren.

                      And just because “that’s what they do”, referring to the Yankees signing a big name guy, doesn’t mean they’ll do it because they can. The two biggest FA’s are C.J Wilson, and Yu Darvish, I’m not 100% sure Cashman is willing to break the bank for either one.

                    • Yankonymous

                      If the Yanks win the WS, I could see them “continuing” the youth movement.

                      If not, I absolutely think they’ll sign both Wilson and Darvish (or sign/trade for someone of that ilk), Nova No. 4th and Hughes/Burnett battling out for the 5th.

                    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                      I highly doubt Cashman will sign both of those guys, who look pretty nice on paper, but sure as hell aren’t locks to meet expectations. And to be honest, I think that the Rangers will re-sign Wilson. They’ve got some money in the bank with their new TV deal, and they obviously have some money left over after Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies. And I’m pretty sure they won’t let yet another ace to walk, especially being a team who is looking like a contender for years to come.

                      With Darvish, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees don’t sign him at all. There’s yet to be a Japanese starting pitcher to meet expectations in the states. He’d most certainly have to adjust to not just pitching in the states by starting every fifth day, but living in the states. No one bothers to bring this up, but I’m sure it’s a major change psychologically changing cultures like that. Most definitely easier said than done.

              • Brian S.

                I really hope that is not our rotation going into 2012, that is gambling an awful lot on Hughes-Burnett-Warren not sucking. McCarthy/Darvish 2012! /Election’d

                • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                  And how is Brandon McCarthy who’s had only one good year, and is on a contract year, and a Japanese pitcher in Yu Darvish who is following a long line of Japanese starters who have failed expectations in the states each time not a gamble?

                  • Brian S.

                    Brandon McCarthy (who is only 28) was non-tendered which is why he is on a contract year. But look at his fangraphs page, he’s been one of the best starters in ALL OF BASEBALL this season. His peripherals are excellent, so he has not been getting lucky either. And Yu Darvish is better than any pitcher to come out of Japan, even Dice-K. He has better stats, is younger, and has logged less innings than Dice-K when he was posted. Don’t get me wrong, Darvish may be somewhat of an unknown commodity and therefore a risk, but he has tremendous upside. The Yankees would be wise to limit his workload during his first year stateside because he is not used to the five day schedule, but that’s why they should sign another starting pitcher if they go after him. And McCarthy is a no brainer, because he could be a five win pitcher at a fraction of the cost that Wilson will require. And best of all, these two pitchers will not cost any draft picks.

                    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                      That’s nice that he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball, but it’s only one year. Look at his years prior to this one. He’s very mediocre at best, and don’t forget his past injury issues. He missed the entire 2010 season, and missed all of June due to shoulder problems. You’d be a fool to disregard that.

                    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                      Also, a quick Dice-K scouting report going into his first year in the states, 2007: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospects/2007/263445.html

                      “Who needs a gyroball? He has six pitches that grade out as plus or plus-plus at their best, and he’ll be the best Japanese import ever. And no, we’re not forgetting about Ichiro”.

                      That was some pretty lofty expectations, and he’s failed miserably. I haven’t seen a scouting report on Yu Darvish like that, and I bring this up because you said he’s a better pitcher to come out of Japan, even more than Dice-K, so obviously he should have these kind of expectations in your eyes which I’d say would end up backfiring in the end.

                    • Brian S.

                      And as nice as that scouting report on Dice-K is, he still has not matched Darvish in stats. And again, Darvish has a lot less mileage on his arm so I would consider him less of an injury risk (if they allow him to get accustomed to pitching every five days). And yes McCarthy is an injury risk, but his upside is too great to pass up in my opinion. Like I said I doubt he costs that much so even if he went down for a month and Noesi had to pitch for a few starts the Yankees could deal with that.

                    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                      Do you have Dice K’s and Darvish’s Japanese stats available? Because I can’t find them, I must not be looking hard enough.

                    • Brian S.

                      Yu Darvish has a career 2.12 ERA in Japan while Dice-K has a career 2.95 ERA in Japan. The last three years Yu has been posting sub 2ERA’s. Darvish has never thrown more than 207 innings in a season while Dice K was throwing 250 innings a season at a very young age.

                    • forensic
                    • forensic

                      And if you want other little tidbits, there’s this:


                      and this:


                      Meanwhile, my last comment is awaiting moderation. That must mean I’m special…

              • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

                I really, really hope that’s not our rotation going into 2012.

              • TomH

                If the rotation for next year is, as you predict this one–

                1.CC Sabathia
                2.Ivan Nova
                3.Phil Hughes
                4.A.J Burnett
                5.Adam Warren–

                then it does seem the Yankees are in trouble.

                1 = A to A+
                2 = B to B+
                3 = C
                4 = C- to C
                5 = Who knows?

                There has simply been no evidence for some time now that Phil Hughes is a serious candidate for a #3 starter.

                • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                  You can say the same thing about the Opening rotation going into this year:

                  1.CC Sabathia= A to A+

                  2.Phil Hughes= B (Maybe even a lower grade)

                  3.A.J Burnett= C (Also could be a lower grade)

                  4.Ivan Nova= C (Certainly not the B or B+ grade you’re giving him now, he’s obviously exceeded expectations this year.)

                  5.Freddy Garcia= Who knows? He’s an extreme fly ball pitchers and I’ve heard many people say he wouldn’t make it

                  6.Bartolo Colon= Who knows?

                  Looks shaky to me, and look where they’re at.

        • forensic

          Both Cashman and Girardi have already shot down all that talk saying that Joba is a reliever and will rehab and return as such.

          It’s long past time to give it up and move on…

          • The Big City of Dreams

            Yep the only way he starts is if it’s for another team and even that’s not a guarantee. He’s never starting for the Yankees again…unfortunately.

    • Pounder

      Matt Garza?

  • Jesus Freak

    “Yanks had seemingly soured on him before that due to an attitude that many said was simply too brash.”

    That’s odd, he always came off as rather bland and conventional.

    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

      No. He came off as not caring. At all. After getting shelled he basically came out and said “I don’t care it really wasn’t that bad.”. Or something to that effect.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    Said it then and saying it now — should have traded him for Halladay.

    I think at this point it’s silly to trade him. What kind of return could you get at this point of his career? Then to watch him pitch well for another team would suck. Gotta give him another year to see what he can do, and see if he can stay injury-free. If he sucks after next year, well then I guess it’s a loss. But I’d rather see that than see him traded away for little return and then shine elsewhere.

    • YankeesJunkie

      Honestly, I don’t remember what the Jays were asking for Halladay at the time, but I am pretty sure that Hughes was not the center piece of the deal and the Yankees were not assuming that he would take a below market rate contract. The Haren non-trade has seemed to hurt the Yankees more in the long run. However at this point Hughes only has a fairly good secondary value for a top tier pitcher which is fine, but if the Yankees are going to try to trade him by himself or as the center of the package then it will in all likelihood not be in the best interest of the Yankees.

      • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

        I’m not 100% sure, so don’t hold me to it, but I believe in 2009 they asked for Hughes, Joba, and Jesus.

        • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

          Yeah, I remembered the asking price being centered around Phil and Jesus. I mean obviously I know it wasn’t as simple as I made it sound in my comment, but I do remember the Yankees not wanting to give up Hughes.

          But it was Roy freaking Halladay.

        • forensic

          I would’ve made that deal 100 times out of 100. Any time, now or then (though obviously it would never be close to enough now).

      • MikeD

        It’s unknown. There never was a deal. The Yankees tried to come up with a package, and Montero was clearly part of it, but Toronto didn’t want to trade him within the division.

        Most of what we think we know is just media rumors.

  • forensic

    He has a near 5 career ERA as a starter in over 70 starts. I wouldn’t be upset in the least if they traded him. His stuff has been going backwards for at least two years and he has fewer pitches now than he had in the past. He’s almost a Burnett/Harden copy of a two-pitch pitcher who ‘should’ win more and pitch better than he does and who is consistently injured.

    Send him somewhere and start to find some openings in the rotation for pitchers who have at least not already shown themselves to be sub-par MLB pitchers. All the talk about Banuelos, Betances, Warren, Phelps, etc. and yet everybody wants to keep signing FA’s and filling up valuable and limited rotation spots that should be going to these kids over the next year or two.

  • duzzi23

    I really wish I knew what the hell happened to the Phil Hughes that was a number 1 pitching prospect. I remember watching his second start where he was no hitting thinking wow this guy is going to be here a long time. Even down the stretch of 07 he had some real good starts. It’s like that guy never came back in 08 beside a good first half in 2010. It’s real disheartening that Kennedy is an ace n joba n Hughes floundered.

    • Holy Ghost

      You can’t predict baseball

  • Rich in NJ

    Trading Hughes now would likely be trading low, so it’s just not a good move from a cost-benefit perspective.

  • cranky

    Phil Hughes+Austin Romine for Francisco Liriano.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      I just threw up in my mouth a little.

      • Brian S.

        That’s hot.

      • Jesus Freak


  • MikeD

    It really depends on what they can get back, and will that person provide more value, and potential upside, than will the 25-year-old pitcher Hughes. My guess is no, and since they’d be selling low, it probably makes more sense to hold on to Hughes. Yet if you’re going to tell me he can be packaged with some other pieces to bring back Justin Upton, then make it so!

    The problem for Phil is one of expectations. The hype was so high that anything short of becoming a #1, or at worst a very strong #2, is considered failure by many Yankee fans. They ignore the value he has brought, from being a very important and key member of the 2009 world championship team, and then one of the starting five for the 2010 team. Yet when 2010 comes up, everyone always wants to focus on the second half, ignoring the first half, and the overall season.

    2011 has been a setback, but I’m not going to ignore he gave us two good years prior. I’m also not going to ignore the heavy workload from 2010 and the fact we heard whispers about him not being in pitcher-shape early this season, something that I think was proven to some degree when he went away, they worked on his throwing, and he suddenly gained several miles back on his fastball. 2012 he’ll be a full year removed from the heavy workload and he’ll have the offseason to work on a training program with the Yankees. Expectations among Yankee fans will also be reset some.

    I have little doubt many teams, especially NL teams, are salivating at the prospects of the Yankees selling low. I’m sure Arizona would like to pair him back up with IPK and then we can watch from afar as Hughes wins 15-20 games next year in the NL.

    Hold him unless the Yankees can get something back of substance. He’s still more valuable as a young arm, even at three million or so dollars.

    • forensic

      The second half/overall season of 2010? Everyone always tries to say stuff like that, but it’s blatently not true. He was good for 6 starts (39 innings, 1.38 ERA) then terrible for his last 23 starts (135.3 innings, 5.02 ERA).

      Those six starts are the epitome of people clinging to false small sample size hope that he somehow suddenly becomes some ace in the majors since he was one in the minors 5 years ago, with a completely different repertoire. Those six starts are the only thing keeping his career ERA as a starter (4.90) under 5, while without them it’s an even more terrible 5.30.

      • YankeesJunkie

        Obviously six starts in the majors are not enough to say anyone is an ace in the majors, however, considering Hughes’s pedigree it would not have been terrible to assume a #2 or at the very least a #3 starter.

      • Urban

        Actually, I would say it’s the other way around and that nearly *everyone* always tries to stay stuff like you just did. You’re actually reinforcing the poster’s point by selectively slicing out data that you don’t like because it doesn’t support your position.

        Hughes had an ERA of 1.38 on May 12, and I think we all new that he wasn’t that good and that he wasn’t Bob Gibson NL 1968 pitching in AL 2010. Yet if we knew he wasn’t that good, why should we be assuming he’s as bad as he was in his worst starts? Pitchers go through periods where they are on fire, and other times when they suck. Normal pitchers outside of the Halladay-class. Okay, but why stop at those six starts. Let’s get rid of his approximately twelve starts he had throughout 2010 where he gave up two runs or less. His ERA really gets suck-ass then. Or let’s go the other direction, let’s get rid of his twelve worst starts for 2010. My god, he has an incredible ERA if we do that!

        We have a full-season sample size for 2010. Hughes was a better-than-league-average pitcher, giving the Yankees 176 innings, surrendering less than a hit per inning, with a K/9 rate of 7.5 and a solid SO/BB rate of 2.52. That’s not over a selected sample size for better or worse, it’s for the season. His fielding-independent stats in 2010 (and 2011), and for his career suggest he’s been better than his ERAs have shown, something that also gets lost in the noise.

        We now have 2011 to look at, and this year is clearly different than 2010, just as 2010 was clearly different than 2009. For some reason, Hughes was throwing 88 mph fastballs this year, something he has never done in his entire career, high school, minors and majors. I think we certainly have to take that into account, especially since his velocity improved after he went on whatever training program the Yankees had him on.

        We don’t know what Phil Hughes is. Can he be a solid #4, bordering #3 we saw in 2010? Can he step it up with a healthy 2012 and be a little bit more? Is his velocity issue from this year something permanent, meaning he’ll struggle to be a #5? People are making assumptions, and selectively using partial-season data

        It probably makes a lot of sense after all this development to see what Hughes can deliver in 2012, because right now any team looking to deal for Hughes will have these questions, which means they won’t be giving the Yankees much back, not compared to the potential upside.

  • nathan

    If they sell now it would be like a reverse Betemit-Swisher deal. We are not gonna get a good piece back.

    Let him have one more year, we will see what a healthy Hughes can do next year.

  • Kosmo

    If the right trade comes along,the Yanks would have to consider unloading Hughes. The thought that NY at this point would be selling low if they trade PH and he can increase his relative value by performing at a higher level next year is speculative at best. You can´t guarantee Hughes will suddenly be better in the future .That´s just plain old wishful thinking.
    The one position the Yanks need to fill is a number 2 SP to compliment Sabathia. Why not trade for Garza or someone of that stature ? Hughes, Warren and Phelps.
    Next year the rotation could be something like this :
    Garza or Darvish
    with ,Betances and Banuelos at triple A.
    Yanks are not going to live with the Burnett soap opera for another 2 years and my guess is NY will eat a large portion of his contract to unload him.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      I’ve had a man-crush on Garza since the 2008 ALCS.

  • LeftyLarry

    Though to me, Phil Hughes was never a guy I loved, he of the not well hidden straight fastball below elite levels, it appeared to me that Phil looked fatter and out of shape when he hit Spring training and it’s been catch up for him since.
    Bad time to trade him, wait for him to get in shape,get great run support again next year and let him go 10-3 and then trade him in a blockbuster for another #1 to complement CC.

  • Dr Strangepork

    Maybe I’m miss-remembering but wasn’t it implied that Hughes poor start / diminished velo was due to a lack of offseason training ? He did a lot better (still not great) after his ‘second’ spring training, but that can’t make up for an off season of physical neglect. Hopefully with that wakeup call and a kick in the arse from the Yankee brass he’ll get into the best shape of his life this offseason.

    Best case he does just that and comes in as a number 2-3 starter next year. Worst case they move him back to the pen. He’ll be making $3-$4 mill a year over his arb years and if he performs anywhere like he did in 09 it’ll be a huge win for the Yankees as it would give them another great arm in the pen, and would keep them from giving outrageous money /draft pick comp to sign relievers in the FA market.

    And to help scuttle the Darvish ship, can we organize Kei Igawa night at the stadium where every fan wears an Igawa mask to remind the Yankee higher ups that JAPANESE PITCHERS NEVER WORK OUT for more than 2 years?

  • Jorge

    Wow….this is the second article by you guys in a few days that has me scratching my head. There is no way I’d even consider trading Phil Hughes.

    The only thing I don’t feel can be easily explained in his regression was the second half of last year. This year, people spoke ad nauseum about how many innings he pitched last year, and how he was due for a regression. He wasn’t even the only guy in his cohort group in baseball to go through this this year.

    Phil Hughes should show up to camp next year, in the best shape of his life, and be ready to claim a rotation spot. If that fails, and I think he gets all of 2012 to prove himself as a starter, then you look at whether he’s a better bullpen piece in 2013.

    What you don’t do is trade him now, since you’d be selling about as low as can be. Giving up on him is the stuff of game thread naysayers.

    Phil Phuckin Phranchise will rise again in pinstripes.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      There is no way I’d even consider trading Phil Hughes.


      You can’t be serious. I’m not saying they should just dump him but you won’t even consider it

    • Urban

      No way?

      There is a way. It comes down to what’s needed and what’s being offered, and the team’s belief in the skill level of the player. If the Yankees think Hughes is what we’ve seen in 2011, they’ll trade him. If they still believe there is higher-end ability that’s greater than what’s being offered, they’ll keep him.

      I’m quite sure Hughes is no longer an “untouchable,” but also pretty sure they won’t get enough back in value to trade him, so they might as well keep him and see what 2012 brings. A young, even league-average pitcher, even if he costs $3.5 million, has good value to the Yankees.

  • This Year

    It would be very nice to see PH actually make an effort to get in top shape. He looks pudgy and soft and always has. I have followed him with almost religious zeal for years and drove 200 miles each time to see his first three home starts. So I am a devout Hughes freak. But for God’s sake, get on a weight/strength program and see what it can do. You make your living with your body, so take care of it.

  • Mickey Scheister

    2012 Rotation
    1. Sabathia
    2. Burnett
    3. Nova
    4. Garcia/Colon
    5. Hughes

    If they sign a high dollar free agent or pull off a trade, that clearly changes. For ’12, this is kinda the Bubba Crosby is our starting CF and Swish is our starting first-base man phase.

    I’d personally like to see Noesi get a look at number five if Hughes looks like the ’11 Hughes in ’12.

  • Vocabularry

    Projecting Ian Kennedy with low future accomplishments, throwing cold water on his current season, while at the same time embellishing everything that Curtis Granderson does, is a daily occurence here with all three authors.
    Let’s see where the two players find themselves in two more years. My guess is that it will then be impossible to justify this horrible trade.
    Kennedy is a rising star regardless of the bias spewed here.

    • Kosmo

      Frankly, I couldn´t agree with you more. Well said.

    • http://secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      No one is throwing cold water on his current season or expecting him to do poorly. We were always big Kennedy fans, and I was said to see him go. That said, you can’t get something without giving up something, and the Granderson/Kennedy deal has worked out well for both sides. Calling it a horrible trade seems short-sighted, and you’re also accusing us of doing something we don’t do.

      • Kosmo

        I think he said let´s see in 2 years who got the better of the deal. IPK has been a very fine pitcher over the last 2 years .
        Granderson has had a very good, if not streaky, 2011. IMO Granderson will never replicate this season and will regress. Just MO .
        And frankly I didn´t know you guys were big IPK fans.

        • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

          They were big IPK fans while he was coming up through the minors.

          Why will Granderson regress? Fine that it’s your opinion, but you have nothing to prove it at all, so why would people agree with you?

          Is it his BABIP which is actually below his career average? His BB% which is only slightly up? His K% which is higher than his career average? His batted ball profile is almost identical to his career data, except for an inflated hr/fb which is a result of the stadium change(and we don’t have enough data to prove it’s sustainable or unsustainable)?

          His improvement against lefties has been in place for a year now, so I’m not sure why we’d expect that to disappear.

          If anything, I could see a rise in his avg/obp next season with a slight decrease in SLG, more than anything else. But there isn’t a huge decline coming without injury or something else unforeseen.

          • Kosmo

            Why would anyone agree with me ? I don´t expect others to agree with me .
            You argue that “if anything,I could see a rise in his avg.-obp next season“. Why would anyone outside of a Yankee homer agree with you ? I personally feel Granderson is an overrated ballplayer ,extreme K totals, can´t hit with 2 outs RISP, and is a very streaky hitter, for every one or two games he thrives as a hitter, there are weeks when he disappears at the plate.
            I´ll meet you at the OK Corral.

            • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)


              I’m comparing him to himself, in past years, which in conjunction with the league average is what you do to “regress” someone.

              You’re just spouting narratives, you’re not using any real proof whatsoever, which is why I don’t buy your opinion.

            • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

              And Granderson has had no trouble hitting with 2 out, RISP before this year, so I don’t know why that would remain an issue.

              Last year, in NY, .841 with 2 outs, RISP.

              • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

                Annnnd just for good measure, here are his postseason #s from last year, to eliminate any weird “clutch” concerns.

                ALDS: .455/.500/.727
                ALCS: .294/.520/.529

                • Kosmo

                  Granderson is a .235 career hitter with RISP,2 outs. That sucks. So Granderson had 1 good postseason with NY. SSS.

      • Vocabularry

        Well perhaps not you, Ben. However, I have read here often from the guy who disdains bunts and intentional walks (and also believes that every Major League Manager stinks) that basically Ian Kennedy’s success is a prodcut of his placement in the NL West. That is basically rubbish and mitigates his overall great season. When Ian does well, it’s primarily concluded here that the NL West is the reason.
        For fairness, perhaps others should review Kennedy’s work against non NL West Teams. For instance–Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Atlanta—all destined to be in the playoffs.
        Also–his head to head matchups against the best pitchers in the National League this year are striking. He has come out on top in these matchups virtually every single time.
        Regarding Granderson—this, in my opinion, is his career year.
        He has noteworthy and serious shortcomings–both offensively and defensively. You never read about those on this site.
        Ian Kennedy is closer to a Cy Young than Granderson is to an MVP. In my opinion (which is just as valid as the respective opinions of all three authors of this site) the bias expressed here against Kennedy is very evident, while the love for Granderson is way over the top.

        • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

          Granderson is still the same player who played in Detroit + hitting lefties. His HR #s are up largely because of the stadium he plays in, which won’t change next year.

          Look up the history of the articles about the trade this year. Every write-up on this site and elsewhere has simply proclaimed it a win-win for all 3 parties. No site author has diminished Kennedy at all, and just saying that they have done so doesn’t prove anything. If you’re referring to commenters, well, fine. Commenters say stupid stuff every day.

          Of course I’d like to have Kennedy. Just as much as I like having Granderson. But we’re Yankee fans first and foremost, so of course there will be more adulation for Granderson than Kennedy.

          And your opinion may be as valid as the authors of the site, but you don’t have the history here for people to respect it as much as they do the other 3. Using strawmen and ad hominem’s(off the cuff mention of the sac bunts and intentional walks) doesn’t ingratiate you to the masses, either.

          There’s a good reason Kennedy has come out on top against other elite pitchers. They’re all elite, but Arizona has a better offense. Winning is a product of a team effort, not one guy. Kennedy has had a great season. Don’t diminish it by using head-to-head match-ups as your proof.

          2.99/3.34/3.54 stands on its own. But expect his LOB% to come down next year, which will push his ERA up towards his FIP and xFIP, unless he starts to strike out a few more hitters.

          • Cris Pengiuci

            His HR #s are up largely because of the stadium he plays in

            This is not entirely correct. While he’s hit one more HR at home than on the road in 31 fewer AB’s, this is hardly significant. His HRs are more a function of the type of hitter he is t (or has become) than of where he plays. In a different home park, he might have 37 or 38 HRs as compared to 39.

            • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

              Yeah I don’t know why I went there, I’d known his home/road splits already.

              Thanks for keeping me on my toes!

          • Kosmo

            “Winning is a product of a team effort, not one guy“ A bit of a cliche.
            One great player can elevate a team.

            • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

              One great player can elevate a team, sure. My point was that evaluating Kennedy based on head-to-head matchups with other pitchers is silly.

          • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

            Btw the other issue is that…if we don’t make the Grandy trade, who is playing CF for us? Gardner? Then who in LF? Holliday? No way.

            More likely we’d have kept AJax in the fold. And he stinks and is getting worse.

    • Adam Parker

      You realize IPK now pitches in the absolute weakest division in baseball right?

    • Urban

      …but how will we be able to come back to you and say you were right, or you were wrong?

      You’ll be hiding behind some other name by then.

  • http://none Favrest

    It’s not the right time to trade Hughes. He’s coming off a dead arm, and several games where he went 6 innings if that. We have to make it work in NY. Now, that is the only way we’ll get value out Hughes.

  • jsbrendog

    i want to hope for something like the edinson volquez josh hamilton trade….

  • Steve

    Who would want him? I don’t think Phil will be here past his FA year – if he’s there that long. IF he gets another crack at the rotation, it will be his last and I don’t think there will be a long rope. I really think the Yankees do not intend to re-sign him as a FA, but once that is very clear to them (assuming he doesn’t show any progress as a starter next year), they will stick him in the pen and hope to trade him as a reliever. Cashman was apparently willing to dump Hughes on Colorado for Jimenez, who they weren’t sure wasn’t even healthy, so that tells you how they feel about Hughes. Coming into camp overweight did not help his cause at all.

    Forget being an ace, I’m not sure if Phil will ever even be a mid-rotation starter. He can’t throw a curve – it shouldn’t be this much of a problem for him – or a change. I get that he’s young, but he’s not THAT young anymore. I think it’s possible that one day he become a decent starter, but there is much work to be done to get Phil to that point. First things first, he should lose a ton of weight. He used to look like the young Clemens, lean and tall, but now he looks like the old Clemens – he’s just too big. Others have mentioned elsewhere about teaching Phil the split – I don’t particularly like it, but since there is nothing else to lose, why not?

  • Steve

    Heyman’s comment is stupid, though – Hughes’ problems have nothing to do with NY.

    • http://none Favrest

      I completely agree. More than anything, he needs to tryst his stuff. Kennedy is the guy who cracked in NY

      • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

        Kennedy struggled early and got hurt.

        Maybe he literally cracked, if you think an aneurysm is cracking, but his success/failure had nothing to do with his mental makeup. Why do people always go there first when someone fails in NY?

        • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

          got hurt had an aneurysm.

  • Steve

    Phil has a very odd, short-armed action – I always read that he had repeatable, great mechanics, but this way of throwing is so unusual ……..I never loved it.

    Other teams’ fans know Phil Hughes as a name so maybe they see potential that isn’t there, but if his name were not Phil Hughes and they looked at his numbers, would they think he has that much potential? At some point, you are what you are.

  • Bryan G

    Is it possible Phil could bounce back next year and in ’13, ala Cole Hamels who was awful in ’09, the year after his big innings jump, but has gradually gotten back to his potential.

    • forensic

      Another bad comp for Hughes. Hamels had three terrific seasons prior to that ‘awful’ year, which still featured a basically average ERA in the lowish 4’s. Since then he’s quickly had two more terrific seasons, having never thrown less than 183 innings in the majors (other than his rookie year where they basically didn’t bring him up until late may/june), an innings total that Hughes still hasn’t reached.

      • The Big City of Dreams

        What would be the right comparison when it comes to judging Hughes?

  • Bryan G

    Is it possible Phil could bounce back next year and in ’13, ala Cole Hamels who was awful in ’09, the year after his big innings jump, but has gradually gotten back?

    • Jorge


  • theyankeewarrior

    I’ve been as down on Phil Hughes as anyone this season, and even in the second half of last season. (I basically blame the entire ALCS loss to Texas on him)

    But I think that he still has a decent chance to be a force for us next season and in ’13 before he hits free agency. IMO, his struggles this season are directly linked to having a tired arm from last year’s workload.

    Past injuries and ineffectiveness prevented him from building up 200ish IP seasons, so he was never used to that kind of grind.

    If he comes into ST healthy next season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hitting 94 consistently. If he can do that, his secondary stuff will become more effective and he can work towards becoming that #2 or #3 type starter. (I think, at this point, it’s safe to say that he will never be a true #1.)

    To the Yankees, best value just might be at the back end of our rotation.

  • Paul Proteus

    It might be time to put Phil down in that pen and see what he can do for 1 inning. They ruined his arm just like they did Joba’s and now he can’t throw 7 innings with the velocity that he needs. Mo will be gone soon so we need an heir apparent. For 5+ years we could have Joba for the 7th, Hughes for the 8th, Robertson for the 9th.

    Should of included Hughes in that Curtis Granderson deal, not 20 game winner Ian Kennedy.

    • David, Jr.

      “Should of included Hughes in that Curtis Granderson deal, not 20 game winner Ian Kennedy.”

      The brilliant conclusions based on hindsight are always true.

    • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

      Yeah, Ian Kennedy was not a 20 game winner when we traded him.

      But sure, go ahead and in your future decisions trade guys coming off successful seasons instead of the guy coming off a missed season due to injury/illness/etc.

      I can’t stand that strawman argument.

    • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

      And please, for someone who constantly changes his handle to different literary characters, don’t say “should of” unless you’re doing it ironically.

      Or troll-ishly, which is becoming pretty hard to discount.

  • Frank

    At this point, Hughes won’t be an effective starter, especially in the AL east, with his limited pitch repertoire. All he has is a FB with little movement and a good, but not great curve, which he can’t command with any consistency. Essentially, he’s a 2 pitch pitcher. He has no quality secondary pitches to speak of. He needs to develop a better moving FB, and a quality off speed pitch. Otherwise, what he has won’t cut it as a starter. However, he can get away with it in the BP when he only has to face perhaps 3-6 hitters.

  • Joel

    It’s been a physically demanding year for Hughes, coming off a arm injury that we really still don’t know the whole truth about. His stuff was electric the 1st half of 2010, and not so hot the 2nd half. Perhaps that’s when the arm problems 1st started.

    In any event, the Yankees need to put together a solid starting rotation for 2011, and I can’t see that containing both Colon and Garcia. So Hughes can and should be a part of it. Hopefully, rest, and a PT over the winter will help him regain is arm strength, and his effectiveness.

    • TomH

      About your “It’s been a physically demanding year for Hughes, coming off a arm injury that we really still don’t know the whole truth about.” What exactly DO we know about that injury (if it was an injury)? I recall medical tests being run that turned up nothing. There was “dead arm” syndrome, whatever that is.

      I do recall that photo of Hughes arriving to camp last spring, looking a bit paunchy. Beyond that problem of physical shape, I just don’t recall anything really convincing about arm injuries.

      • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

        I don’t know. Save any real evidence either way, I’d still like to give him the off-season and another full year before writing his obituary or banishing him to the depths of the bullpen.

        I’m not overly optimistic about the odds of him being a 2/3 starter anymore, but I’m not writing him off yet. Growth takes time, some pitchers take a lot longer to “get it” than others do. Who knows.

        • Kosmo

          Jim, Why take that stance ? The Yanks have a number of candidates to fill the 4 and 5 roles. Noesi might have a better upside than Hughes. Warren, Banuelos and Betances are just around the corner.
          The Yanks could use a top flight pitcher to compliment Sabathia, so the pecking order is going to change. I don´t think NY will remain pat this offseason.

          • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

            Because outside of CC and, marginally, Nova, I don’t think the Yankees have many better options, especially if they don’t bring back Colon and Garcia. Which FA’s are they going to sign? Wilson is really the only 1/2/3 guy available.

            Warren, Banuelos, and Betances, while really exciting, haven’t proven anything at the ML level yet, and at the very least, even if it was a past version of himself, Hughes has shown he can pitch up here.

            I just don’t want a rotation of

            Not yet.

  • UncleArgyle

    If you can get anything decent for Hughes, I trade him in a heart beat. Frankly, I just don’t think he has the talent to be a starting pitcher in the AL East.

  • FachoinaNYY

    I see Hughes having a bounce back year next year and hopefully the Yankees allow it to be in the rotation.

    Given Hughes increase in workload last year, it was widely viewed as a potential problem for this year.

    I see him having a bounceback year ala Cole Hamels a couple years ago.

  • Alibaba

    I feel that the impatience of the Yankees fans is one huge impediment to developing players here. While some good pitchers are dominant right from the beginning, some take time to mature.

    I don’t think he will be a #1, but still has the potential to become #2 or #3. If I was the one making decision, I’ll give him two more years to see what his ceiling is.

    Yankees should study what the Rays have done. Very few of their best pitching prospects fizzled. Thus, it cannot all be luck (statistically speaking). We, on the other hand, already have experienced Kennedy and Joba. I am afraid that we might be doing the same to Hughes.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      I feel that the impatience of the Yankees fans is one huge impediment to developing players here


      There is truth to that in regards to Kennedy and Joba but I don’t think fans are impatient with Hughes. He has been given so much rope as a starter.

      • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

        Fact: He has been given a lot of rope.

        Also a fact: He’s been hurt, was over-worked last year in comparison to his prior 3 years, and is still young.

        He can have a lot of rope, and the fans can still be impatient. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

  • Reggie C.

    Maybe the Angels would now bite on a package of Hughes, Joba, and a couple B prospects for ervin santana.

    • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

      Why would the Angels agree to that?

      • Reggie C.

        I’m just trying to revive the old Hughes + Joba trade proposals that were popular to make circa 2007-8.

        In all seriousness, I’d love to pry ervin santana. Not sure what thr angels payrol looks like after the Weaver extension.

        • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

          Ahhh gotcha.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          I remember a bogus trade rumor out there before the season started that consisted of Gardner and Brandon Laird for Ervin Santana.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Have Phil work on an IPK changeup as his #1 priority this offseason and keep him.

    • David, Jr.

      Exactly right. The hitters aren’t off balance enough against him. If he can do what you say, all of sudden that 92 mph fastball is plenty. Right now the change is only of the “show me” variety, and that makes the rest of it play down.

      Unless he is part of a very favorable deal, I tend toward giving him the chance to be a starter next year. He has shown enough so far to be worth another shot.

  • MnMBoys

    I have never posted here but I had to login for this one to defend Phil. I’m not of the majority that thinks they have seen it all from him… and I think he can be the guy that dominated out of the bullpen in ’09. He has only really had one healthy full season in the majors when you think about it and that is barely it. The kid is only 25 and he has a good head on his shoulders; if we were to trade him it would be heartbreaking to watch him leave and go to a team in and put up good numbers- as I’ve watched this guy from Double A. I hope to god this doesn’t happen…

    • Alibaba

      Me too.

      Can you imagine if we traded him + IPK for Santana? There will be no Granderson and Santana in DL.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      if we were to trade him it would be heartbreaking to watch him leave and go to a team in and put up good numbers- as I’ve watched this guy from Double A. I hope to god this doesn’t happen…


      Even if they got back a good return?

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

    If we were to trade Phil, could we at least wait until after he has a full year of starting?

  • Kevin Ocala, Fl

    Man some of the writer’s and fans have a very short and narrow perspective when it comes to developing pitchers. Just like The Boss, ‘do it now, if not you’ve spit the bit, and are ‘gutless’. If you want to learn about how historically pitchers careers play out, then do yourselves a favor and and do some research on baseball-ref.com. Then you should realize that pitcher development, especially with the youngsters is very non-linear. Until the reader can grasp that concept you will never understand how a team builds a top pitching staff. Stop thinking that this is some kind of ‘fantasy’ or board/computer simulation. These guys aren’t freaking robots!