Poll: Hughes, Joba, 2014 and beyond

Mailbag: Trading Curtis Granderson
Game 121: Protect This House
(Photos via Getty)

Most of our time discussing the 2014 payroll plan has been spent focused on the big position player free agents, specifically Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher. On a case-by-case basis, the Yankees are either going to have to re-sign those players and skimp elsewhere, or replace them with someone who is more budget-friendly and likely less-productive.

On the pitching side of things, the staff seems a little more set. We know CC Sabathia will still be around and Ivan Nova — assuming he settles down and becomes a stable rotation piece — will just be entering his first arbitration year come 2014. Michael Pineda is a wildcard and the bullpen is always fluid, plus Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte are one-year deal guys going forward given their age. They won’t be signing a multi-year pact this offseason. The only other notable free agents-to-be on the staff are Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, who will hit the open market after next season. Joel Sherman wrote about the Hughes and Joba duo today, and I’m going to excerpt the interesting stuff…

Interestingly, Brian Cashman said, “I believe I know who they are.”

And when pressed on that, the Yankees general manager added: “They have been around long enough. They are not guys I am dreaming on anymore.”

Translation: In the eyes of the Yankees front office, Hughes and Chamberlain no longer have a higher ceiling to reach; they are no longer projectable to something considerably better than what they are now. They are — in the Yankees’ thoughts — who we think they are: Talented, but maddeningly inconsistent performers. And what does an organization do long term about those types of entities as they enter their prime — and also their prime earning years?

“They are here for a reason, — they are important pieces for us,” Cashman said. “I have made trades and done things and I haven’t moved them. That should say something.”

But when asked if that meant wanting either or both long term, Cashman said, “That is stuff I can’t answer at this stage. It is a two-way street. It is a negotiation for two sides. So it is all for another day.”

Assuming these two are what the are — not the safest of assumptions since both guys are still just 26 — meaning Hughes is a homer-prone mid-rotation guy and Joba and setup-type reliever, they’d both be looking at multi-year deals after 2013. The former could probably land a three-year deal worth $8-10M annually, the latter something like two or three years at $3-4M+. Reliever contracts are the toughest thing to pin down. Again, those are assuming these two don’t take any significant steps forward (or back) other than Joba return to his 2010-2011 form as he gets further away from his injuries.

We really have no idea how things will play out with these two just like we don’t know how things will play out with Cano, Swisher, and Granderson. There are a lot of factors in play and things will change considerably between now and next offseason. I could see the Yankees keeping all five players or keeping none of them, really. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. So, anyway, I feel like this is begging for a poll question, so…

Will Hughes and Joba remain with the Yankees after 2013?
Total Votes: 1843 Started: August 19, 2012 Back to Vote Screen
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Mailbag: Trading Curtis Granderson
Game 121: Protect This House
  • split-finger

    why doesn’t Cashman and co. focus on building a farm system with lots of guys who can hit. and then fill the roster with those guys and trade others to fit other needs?

    • Hardy

      Because there is a thing called “draft”. It distributes young players pretty evenly between MLB clubs – the Yankees even get a little less than the average team.

      • Laz

        I think what he was focusing on was that they should only pick hitters, and let other teams develop pitchers for us. Look where we have gotten with out top talent pitchers, but have developed some decent bats. Let’s hope pineda comes back healthy.

    • Ted Nelson

      I Believe that they do spend a ton of time and resources on this. Just ignoring Ps seems pretty stupid, though. You’ll be intentionally passing over more talented Ps to take less talented players in a lot of cases. Despite popular opinion, the Yankees have had a TON of success in developing Ps recently given the resources expended (I.e. no early 1sts).

      • Ted Nelson

        Basically, even if you concentrate more on position players you are going to have to have some guys Ping in the minors. Might as well try to get value.

      • jjyank

        RIght, you gotta take the best talent available in the draft, regardless of position. Drafting a kid based on the MLB team’s need is not a sound strategy in my opinion. This isn’t football, where a guy can step right in and contribute. Even college guys typically spend a year or two in the minors. Trades can always be made to fill a hole if a prospect is blocked.

      • Laz

        I think Hughes worked out pretty good for them comparing to the rest of the draft. 23rd pick, but only 4 ahead of him have had a better career so far. Sure there were some better players that fell lower, but if you compare their pick to the 7 teams after them, they picked the only once that became a decent ml player.

        • Ted Nelson

          Yeah, overall they’ve produced a hell of a lot of ML Ps and guys who were at least top prospects while Opp has been here (and top prospects at least have trade value): Hughes, IPK, Joba, DRob, Arodys, Dunn, Coke, Nova, Noesi, Melancon, Banuelos, Betances, Brackman, Phelps, Mitchell… I would imagine that stacks up pretty well league wide.

  • Hardy

    I think that the Yankees payroll will be above 189 in 2014 and that both will stay.
    If they are really going below 189, both are gone.

  • 28 this year

    I think Joba is almost definitely gone unless he gets to the level where the Yankees think he could close post Mo. Hughes, if he can maintain this type of performance of this year after April, he might come back but honestly I think both are gone just because I think the Yankees will have better options.

    • Laz

      Depends on what they want for salary. Both could be useful pieces, but it all comes down to what they demand for salary.

  • YanksFanInBeantown

    I think Joba gets a chance to start somewhere and bolts, unfortunately.

    • jjyank

      Yeah, the Yankees might offer him a reliever type contract, while another team might offer a bit more because they view him as a starter.

      • Laz

        Joba will be 28 with injury history. He may be viewed as a starter (and honestly if I was a gm on a bad team i would give him a shot). But i have trouble seeing it succeed.

  • Smart Guy

    both of them havent performed to a level where they would cost much so id extend them both before they reach FA at a 2 year with options, if they dont want it then goodbye even though Joba is still my fave yankee

  • Mike HC

    I have Hughes staying and Joba gone. Always will be a Joba fan no matter where he pitches. Hopefully he stays near by and pitches for the Mets.

  • JW

    I think if Hughes continues at the same level through the rest of the season, he’s got definite trade value this winter — especially in the NL or a pitcher-friendly park, even though he’s only one year from FA. I can easily his numbers being as good or better than IPK’s numbers from last year. It wouldn’t stun me to see him as part of a package for a Swisher replacement come wintertime. So I don’t see him even coming back for 2013, much less 2014.

    As far as Joba, he’s probably got little to no trade value this winter. He’s likely back next year. As far as 2014 . . . Soriano’s gone, Mo could be retired . . . if Joba puts up a solid 2013, it’s hard to see the Yankees let him walk.

    • Bill

      I think they shop Hughes this offseason, but probably keep him unless someone gives them a good cost controlled OF which is unlikely. They’ll likely let him walk after that.

      As for Joba I think he’s gone. If he has a good year he’ll get more money elsewhere and even with a good year he’s still behind Robertson in the pecking order post Mo/Soriano. The Yankees will build the bullpen from within the system and with bargain FA’s. They’re not going to invest decent money in an inconsistent middle reliever/setup type. Cashman knows he can do more with that money picking up a few cheaper guys and seeing who rises from it.

  • Mike HC

    Considering both of those guys are still with the team this year and next, and both have reputations for getting in and out of shape, I think Cashman’s comments were more for motivating them, rather than his true feelings.

  • Ted Nelson

    I would say it’s a false trade off you keep setting up between $ and production. Granderson and Swisher are .350-ish wOBA corner OFs… And should be expected to decline in their next contract. Good players (average starters), but not great. You can definitely get that production cheaper, though it’s not super easy to find by any means.
    The goal is to find the next one, not overpay the last one. Cashman seems to get this with his treatment of the OF over the past several years.

    Agree that Hughes and Joba are often forgotten compared to the position players. But I think that is because their careers have been so inconsistent. Trying to peg their market value at the end of 2013 is pretty tough given how reactionary the FA market usually is. I agree with Cash that it’s hard to say at this point what their market value will be relative to their value to the Yankees.

  • Ramondo

    In all fairness to Joba, he did have TJ surgery
    and I really didn’t expect much out of him PLUS
    that dumb trampoline incident. Now Hughes…enough
    is enough! He is such an enigma and they should
    get rid of him. I honestly believe he is another
    “can’t pitch in NY” guy. Put him somewhere else,
    he will shine!

  • Michael Collins

    I think it would be wise for the Yankees to trade them while they have some value. I have no confidence in Hughes. I like Joba for the bullpen, but not if we can get someone better.

  • jjyank

    I didn’t vote, to be honest, because I have no idea. I could see any of the scenarios easily happening. A lot will be riding on 2013 for both of those guys. If Hughes takes a step forward in 2013 and Joba returns to being a dominant set-up guy (or vice versa, they take steps backward), that changes the landscape considerably. Neither one of them has a track record to suggest that whatever happens in 2012 or 2013 is or is not a fluke, so I really have no clue where those two will be come 2014.

    • Ted Nelson

      Agreed. It’s an interesting topic, but a total guess at this point.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        Great minds ….

        I read through the article 3 times and still couldn’t come up with a vote and valid reason to support my conclusion, so I didn’t vote either. It would really have been a total guess. I’m hopeful they’ll produce next season and be back with the team (maybe they come to the conclusion that with how the Yankees have helped them with their careers, that a home town discount is in order), but I’m ever the optimist, so ….

  • RetroRob

    It’s good that Cashman knows who Joba and Hughes are, now if only many Yankee fans can accept that too.

    Hughes through his career, and this year too, has been roughly league average. What’s the market rate for a league-average starter for his age-27 through 29 years? He still has some upside as his HR rate this year is a bit of a aberration. I’m not sure the Yankees should be locking themselves into a league-average pitcher for three years, but if priced right, he can still be traded.

    Joba is a bit more difficult. This is going to be a lost year. His velocity is back, but it’s going to take time for his command to return. I doubt Joba will be effective again until 2013, but can the Yankees risk signing him to more than a one-year deal? If I’m in Joba’s shoes, besides avoiding trampolines, I sign a one-year deal and walk hoping to get another chance to start elsewhere. He’ll make more money as a back-end starter than a set-up man.

  • Mr. Pink

    I think I prefer David Phelps/Manny Banuelos in the rotation and Mark Montgomery in the bullpen in 2013 while making peanuts over Hughes and Joba giving up bombs while making millions. If the Yankees are serious about the 2014 luxury tax they should let replaceable guys like Hughes and Joba go.

    • jjyank

      You could be right, but this goes back to what I was saying about 2013 above. I’m not ready to declare Phelps a legit long term piece (though I am both encouraged and hopeful). Banuelos needs to come back from his injury and dispel the concerns about his control problems that arose in 2011. I’m excited to see Montgomery, but I won’t hedge that bet until he’s throwing to MLB batters. Next year should be interesting, at least.

  • Mike Myers

    Well if you assume 2 of the 3 Manban/Nova/Phelphs can hold down the 4/5 spot. CC is 1. You still have a 2 & 3 to consider. If you have low wage guys holding 4/5 we can pick up some decent arms and stay under that payroll number.

    Some AJ Burnett guy is a free agent at that point too….haha.

    • Hardy

      Pineda is also under team control in 2014.

  • Rich in NJ

    It’s possible that Hughes and Joba are what they are because of a suboptimal development process. If so, when will that process be changed so that other prospects aren’t similarly limited?

    • Ted Nelson

      A. The opposite is also possible.

      B. Why are you assuming hat the Yankees don’t learn and improve their processes on an ongoing basis. That’s what good organizations do, and the Yankees certainly seem like a good organization to me.

    • Mike HC

      I think the Yankees situation in general creates a sub optimal development process. One, there is not much patience for growing pains. Yanks need to win every year and they don’t give as much leeway as other teams in letting prospects work through struggles. Two, the jump from AAA to AL East is huge. Three, you are under the microscope. Meaning more pressure, and also more exposure. You can’t stay under the radar for long, if at all.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Tell me what you think that process is, since you’ve been able to pinpoint it. Then we can talk about what can be changed.

  • Darren

    I still don’t understand how Mike is so sure Kuroda won’t sign a multi-year pact. Evn Mo signed a two year deal not that long ago after seeming to have become a 1 yr guy only. If Kuroda can get 3 yrs for $30mm from somone, even if not Yankees, will he reject it because he might want to go back to Japan? he can always insist that’s part of the deal – that it ca be voided if he wants to go home.

    As far as Joba vs Phil, ask me in a year.

    • blake

      He’s been good the last two seasons and he’s still signed one year deals….could be that’s what he wants to do so he can return to Japan when he wants.

  • blake

    Hughes’s agent is probably praying he gets dealt to an NL West club….I think you put him in a stadium where some of those homers become fly outs and he really could take off….and potentially make a lot more money.

    Yanks probably need to make a decision on Phil this winter….if he’s not going to be a long term piece then shop him and see what he could bring either directly or as a piece in a bigger deal for an outfielder.

    • JW

      I totally agree, see my comment above. I like Phil, I’ve been pulling for him for years, but I think that long-term, it’s probably in the Yankees’ best interests to move him to an NL club which values him for what he’s likely to become for them.

      I wonder if the D’backs are a possibly destination. Or even LAD. It could be interesting.

  • MiKe

    I hope Brett Marshall keeps doing well, maybe he could become a valuable piece..

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    “I believe I know who they are.”
    Excellent logical statement. Can’t continue to prospect hug as the sample size of major league experience grows.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      But they’re not prospects anymore. These guys are a year away from free agency.

      We also may know who they are, but that doesn’t mean they can’t perform better. It may mean you don’t have to sit around and wait for it anymore, though.

      • Paul VuvuZuvella

        “But they’re not prospects anymore.”

        I believe we’re violently agreeing.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Yeah. I just didn’t read yours correctly the first time around.

  • CC Is Not An Ace

    Joba needs to be a starter next year.

    • Betty Lizard

      That’s nice.
      But what do the Yankees need?

      • whozat

        Ideally? For Joba to be and succeed as a starter. He’d contribute more to the team, in terms of wins. He’d have higher trade value.

        I’ve always hated the notion that wanting Joba to be a starter was somehow putting the player before the team. If he’s a solid starter, EVERYONE wins. If he breaks out, everyone wins MORE.

        • Laz

          I agree. I always felt that if you have a player become a solid starter then it is way more valuable to the team than a reliever (Mariano aside) We got Logan, rapada, and eppley who all were scrubs, and have gotten them to form a decent bullpen.

          • Betty Lizard

            All well and good. But the proposition was that Joba needs to be a starter “next year.” So you really think Joba post TSJ and ankle should–or could–start for the Yankees next year? I don’t. But I do see another team willing to gamble on his being a starting pitcher.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    I think Joba has a better chance of being back than Hughes due to the losses of Rivera and Soriano after the 2013 season. You can write 2012 off as a loss, but he’ll get a full spring and 2013 to work out his issues (even as the 6th inning guy).

    Hughes might be back in 2013, although I would try and trade him after this season in a package to maybe get AA or AAA prospects who are still developing from a team that needs pitching. With Nova, Phelps, Pineda and Banuelos, the Yanks have enough 3-4-5 level starters to work through the season, with CC and Pettitte/Kuroda at the front.

  • Mandy Stankiewicz

    Pineda is going to have some questions about his ability at the start of next year. And if the rotation is (just for example) CC/Kuroda/Nova/(then 2 of 3) Pineda/Hughs/Phelps. Phil could work out of the bullpen if Phelps and Pineda come out of camp strong, and if Phil excels Phelps has options (or Phil’s contract would make a desirable trade). That said, is it worth 3 years, maybe 22-27 million for the yankees?

    Joba was the man in 07, but I really hope we pass on a long-term FA contract.

    • LiterallyFigurative

      I don’t see him getting a Long Term Contract, simply because non-closers rarely get longer than 2 year deals.

      If you could get Joba at a 2 year deal for reasonable money to set up for Robertson, you wouldn’t do it (if he pitches pretty well in 2013?)

      • Mandy Stankiewicz

        Point. If Robertson closes next year, this would be a good option that’s already in-house. As long as its cheap.

  • Steve nj

    Trade Hughes this winter and get whatever we can, I like Phil but its not gonna work out for him in new york keep joba has more upside and won’t cost alot of money he can turn it out still

  • Nice Scheister

    Trade them both for Roy Halladay or Johan Santana…or just keep them both and hope they do their best Melky impression in a contract year, minus the testosterone and website.

    But seriouslly I wonder if Hughes would accept a 2/12 after this year, or something similiar.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    This is all for shits and giggles, obviously, but I voted that Hughes stays and Joba goes. I believe the price for Hughes after 2013 quoted here will be fair for a mid-rotation guy and, if he continues to be who we think he is, I’d be willing to pay it.

    I think there’s a team out there who’d try to give Joba a chance to start, and that he’d jump at it.

    • jjyank

      Right about Joba most likely. Even is Joba doesn’t jump at it, you gotta believe his agent will talk him into jumping at it. Just too much more money to be made starting instead of being a middle reliever. Like I said above somewhere, the X factor is 2013. If Joba dominates and the Yankees want to throw closer money at him to take over for Mo in 2014, that might bring him back. But if Joba is anything less than lights out and/or the Yankees aren’t comfortable paying him to be the closer, he’s probably out of here.

  • Neil

    2013 Rotation: Sabathia, Nova, Pettite, Hughes, Pineda, (Phelps)
    2014 Rotation: Sabathia, Pineda, Nova, Banuelos, Phelps

    Phil Hughes was the first prospect I followed from the time he was drafted so it pains me to not see him in the future of this team. But I don’t see him coming back in 2014 unless he has a monster year in 2013 or if he gets injured in 2013 and then signs for a 1 yr deal on the cheap. I see him signing somewhere else for 30/3 type contract.

    2013 Bullpen: Rivera, Robertson, Chamberlain, Logan, Rapada, Eppley/Ardsma, Phelps/Warren

    I see Soriano walking after this season. 2014 bullpen really depends on whether Rivera comes back and how Robertson/Joba do. I see Robertson with an inside track to future closer.

  • themgmt

    How is Nova seen as a shoe in? Yankees have one starter next year, CC.

    Pineda, Hughes, Joba, Phelps, Nova, Banuelos, Kuroda, Pettitte should all be in consideration for the last 4 spots.

    • Hardy

      Ivan Nova will be a 26 year old starting pitcher who has been perfectly league average for two years and will basically make the minimum.
      He will either be traded or he will have a guaranteed spot in the rotation.

  • http://stoogazzo@comcast.net Tom Morea

    Joba and Hughes, two bums in harmony. Get rid of them both!