Via Andy McCullough & Bob Klapisch: The Yankees and Phil Hughes did not talk about a multi-year contract while negotiating their one-year agreement this offseason. “Coming up with this organization as a pitcher, you know you’re not going to be signed long-term (before free agency),” said the right-hander. “The Yankees are the ones who drafted me; they’re like a second family. For me to say I’d be neutral [about leaving New York] would be dishonest.”
Hughes, 26, will become a free agent next winter and will be, by far, the youngest starting pitcher on the open market. A strong walk year could have him looking at Anibal Sanchez money (five years, $80M) next winter. At the behest of pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Hughes underwent rounds of Active Release Technique physical therapy this winter, a regimen designed to improve flexibility. They’re working on several mechanical tweaks to smooth out his delivery and maximize his extension when he releases the ball. Whether it works remains to be seen, but either way this is an enormous season for Phil. He has quite a bit on the line.