May
14

Phil Hughes and his looming contract

By
(Jamie Squire/Getty)

(Jamie Squire/Getty)

We’re not even half way through the 2013 season — seems like a perfect opportunity to discuss Phil Hughes‘ looming contract situation! The once-heralded prospect from California reached The Show back in 2007. Six-hundred and seventy-five innings (and several injuries) later, he’s amassed a career 4.40 ERA (4.25 FIP), which equates to a cumulative 10.1 WAR according to FanGraphs. In terms of peripheral stats over the course of his career, he’s struck out 7.62 per nine, walked 2.82 per nine, and surrendered 1.27 homeruns per nine. With that said, he’s only 26 year’s old and seems to be heading in the right direction (though his last start wasn’t wonderful). This season, he’s pitched to a 4.43 ERA which is actually just a touch over his 4.15 FIP. His strikeout and walk rates have been better than his career norms so far, and with any luck, his HR/9 rate will end up closer to his career norm than the inflated rate we witnessed all last season.

So here’s the rub. The Yankees have the option of proposing a qualifying offer to him after this season. Should they go that route, Hughes would remain in pinstripes for another season at a salary in the neighborhood of roughly $13-15M.  This would delay his free agency for another year should he accept the offer (and would presumably qualify the Yankees for a supplemental first round draft pick if he chooses to take services elsewhere).  Subsequently, if Hughes reached free agency in 2015, he’d be potentially competing for another contract against guys like Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Masterson, or Max Scherzer among  others — obviously, the list of potential free agents can and probably will change rather drastically as teams attempt to retain their players between now and then (complete 2015 list here).

The Yankees could forgo the qualifying offer altogether after this season and let Phil simply test the free agent market — which would probably be in Phil’s best interest financially.  2014 brings a mediocre group of free agents that includes notable names such as Tim Lincecum, Matt Garza, Roy Halladay, Dan Haren, Jon Lester (who has a $13M club option), Colby Lewis, Shaun Marcum, and Josh Johnson. Lincecum and Halladay seem to have lost a lot of their star power (due to declining ability and injuries), and I’d be surprised to see Lester’s option does not get picked up. I’d also be surprised to not see Johnson, Garza, and maybe even Shields get traded (and extended) before then, which would all of a sudden makes that list a lot less interesting.  Depending who else is available on the market will heavily influence Hughes’ perceived value.

Or, the Yankees could take an alternate and perhaps more desirable path, and buy out Hughes’ 2014 season in addition to a few more with an extension.  Technically, the Yankees could also try to trade Phil before this decision has to be made, but seeing as though they’ll likely not be sellers by the deadline, I just don’t see this happening, nor do I think they would get a ton in return anyway.  On the one hand, the Yankees face a perilous rotation situation next season.  Pretending Michael Pineda is healthy and effective (and that alone may prove to be an excercise in absurdity), that leaves the Yankees with … well, it leaves them with CC Sabathia and Pineda.  After that, it’s some combination of David Phelps, Ivan Nova, and not much else.  I’d love to believe Manny Banuelos could be in the mix, but that’s probably waaay to optimistic given his rehab timetable and overall progress.  Maybe Hopefully Andy Pettitte and/or Hiroki Kuroda are coaxed into another year in pinstripes, but that is not a garauntee by any means given their age and vocalized interest in retirement.

(Elsa/Getty)

(Elsa/Getty)

On one hand, having Hughes in the mix would certainly make the rotation a bit more digestable on paper, plus it’s comforting to know what weaknesses you have in a player rather than finding out down the road what baggage someone else brings.  On the other hand, there are the talks about an austerity budget which poses a definite financial dilemma, and might be the biggest contributing factor as to why the Yankees may pass on Hughes (along with others) altogether.  To be absolutely clear, I hope the Yankees elect to bring Hughes back — not because he has become the wunderkind that was advertised throughout the minors, but because I think he’s a younger alternative to many of the options out there, and honestly just about as effective at this point.  To Hughes’ credit, he has also shown occasional capacity to be more than just a back-of-the-rotation type of arm.  Also, I don’t necessarily envision the Yankees acquiring another headline-caliber pitcher — the Sabathias of the world are hard to come by after all, but who knows.

So let’s say for a moment that the Yankees roll the dice on Phil and offer him an extension.  What might that contract look like?  When asked this very question during Thursday’s RAB Live Chat, I whimsically answered five years, $50M.  In retrospect, that price seems a bit conservative – though the number of years seems realistic enough.  Really, that’s the price I would want the Yankees to pay, although I would definitely not complain with a four year, $52M agreement similar to Edwin Jackson’s.  In actuality, I’d be surprised if it didn’t cost more though.  Perhaps five years, $60M seems more plausible.  At that rate, Hughes would still have some legitimate wealth, and wouldn’t completely break the bank for the Yankees (not to mention the contract would still include his peak years).  For what it’s worth, we’ve also seen guys like Jered Weaver sacrifice a few dollars to stick around with a team he’s comfortable with, and maybe Hughes would do the same for the Yankees (though that’s not necessarily the norm nor would I expect it).

Interestingly enough, Baseball-Reference’s comparitive list of pitchers’ performance most similar by age includes Kyle Kendrick and John Lackey.  Kendrick isn’t really useful for contract comparisons as he’s basically going through the same process himself.  Lackey could make for an interesting discussion though.  If Hughes performs very well for the remainder of the season (especially if the pitchers market becomes increasingly scarce), an inflated contract could become more likely.  In his final year with the Angels, Lackey was making $10M.  Boston rewarded him with a five-year, $82M salary.  This is also similar to the deal that Anibal Sanchez received from the Tigers (though his included a club option).  Both of these contracts are probably “best case” scenarios for Phil — but they are still within the realm of plausible.  After all, how many times have we seen a team overpay a guy for whatever reason.  Also, other organizations may not worry as much about his fly ball tendancies if their stadium is more pitcher friendly.

Conversely, if Hughes has a really disappointing season from here on out, he could end up with an offer closer to Rickey Nolasco, say, a three-year, $36M pact — or, a few years to re-prove himself at a standard rate.  Given the premium placed on pitching, the fact that teams have money to spend and Hughes’ favorable age, I’d bet he lands a contract closer to Lackey before I’d bet on one similar to Nolasco — though my guess is he’ll fall somewhere in between, ultimately ending up slightly above Edwin’s arrangement.  In any event, the Yankees have some tough decisions to make.  Whatever they ultimately do, I’m sure it’ll be scrutinized heavily.  In the meantime, what would you do?

Which contract should the Yankees offer Phil Hughes?
Total Votes: 2009 Started: May 13, 2013 Back to Vote Screen
Categories : Hot Stove League, Polls
  • Blake

    They should at least have a discussion about an extension now rather than waiting…..if he makes it to free agency I could see a west coast team with a big ball park going hard after him thinking that his biggest weakness (homer rate) would be decreased in a different park.

    I hope they keep him just because I’m invested….I’ve watched Hughes or years and to lose him is that he’s finally making some progress and establishing himself would suck. Also because they could use him next year as a prime aged starter….

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Agreed.

  • Jim Is Bored

    Voted 5 years @ 60 million, but I could see that being more like 64-66 million if he keeps pitching like this.

    Definitely the upper bound of what I’d want to pay for him, but if the 189 plan is scrapped then I don’t see any reason not to do it.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com GT Yankee

      I would have chosen to give him a qualifying offer (draft pick) on the poll if it were a choice

      • CS Yankee

        +1

      • And in merrie olde England

        Came here to raise that point.

  • Eddard

    4/$52 would be just fine. He’s only 26, still very much in his prime years. Even 5 years would be ok. It’s better than offering a 30+ year old an 8-10 year contract which they’ve had no problems doing in the past and probably will do again with Robbie Cano. He’s still young and effective, and he’s one of the few successes the Yankees have had developing starting pitchers. Sign him up!

  • Blake

    Yea I think Cashman will push to keep Hughes bu a big part of the decision will be the budget and how bendy it is…..if they mean to get under 189 then it would be very difficult to sign both Hughes and Cano…..if they scrap that plan then yes they should lock them both up and play ball

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I voted 4/60, but I didn’t really give it a whole lot of thought.

    We continue to read tea leaves with the celery cap. There seem to be reports that the savings are not what the organization originally thought, and every less dollar saved is an additional reason to go with a long-term, rather than short-term, plan to gain fiscal flexibility, if that’s what the team even wants.

    He’s looked every bit the solid mid-rotation guy who, at his best, flirts with looking like a top guy. He’s never had arm issues. I don’t see who’d be better to slot in there in the 3 or 4 spot.

    I do love me some James Shields, though, I must admit.

  • mike

    I’d qualify him….. worst case they are stuck with him as their #3 for a year, best case he does really well and he is in the discussion for a big contract…..and if he leaves , grabbing a first round pick and using that to protect the draft if they sign Garza or Shields

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I’d qualify him as well if it goes that far.

    • MannyGeee

      Yup… smart money is on the QO and give the contract negotiations a go for 2015.

      • Reggie C.

        I agree with this.

        And I think this route is the best way to go with Hughes.

  • http://twitter.com/bill_style Bill Style

    I would hate to see the Yankees deal with his growing pains for years, while another team to enjoy his prime years.

    If my memory serves me correctly, he’s the only starting pitcher under 30 set to hit the open market this offseason. I’d offer him a contract extension in a heartbeat, and 4/52 or 4/60 seems right in line with keeping under the $189m austerity budget (until it eventually gets scrapped)

    • MannyGeee

      you pay a certain price for those growing pains, while the financial cost of those prime years is significantly higher.

  • 6

    I’m going to actually disagree with everyone on this. Cashman makes him a qualifying offer, but that’s it. Hughes signs elsewhere. The market will be very good for him this winter. I think Cashman goes the route of 1 year deals next season. CC, try to work something out with either Pettitte or Kuroda (my guess is Kuroda gives it one more go around), Phelps, (one of Pineada, Warren, Nova – whoever) and then Cashman give someone like Johnson or Halladay an incentive based 1 year deal. I just don’t see the Yanks handing Hughes a 3,4,or 5 year deal.

    .

    • SDB

      I’m terrified of seeing Halladay in pinstripes next year, after this ridiculous free fall over the last season and a bit.

      • 6

        Whoever it is. Doesn’t have to be Halladay and I agree, his drop off has been extreme. If you’re going to take a chance on a guy, it’s a Halladay. Lincecum is a train wreck. Always has been. Guy has some of the worst mechanics I’ve ever seen. The Yanks have always liked Garza as well. I’m personally not a fan, but I could see Garza taking a 1 or 2 year deal with a team (pending his progress in the 2nd half once he’s back). It’s nuts to think that Garza would get more in the offseason. The Yanks definitely want to see what they have in Pineda and Banuelos and both could be contributors in 2015 and quite frankly, by then the Yanks will be on the hunt for another #1 again, not a nice #3 or 4 (Hughes). I think the Yanks 2 years from now will be a rotation of ?? as #1, CC #2, Pineda or Banuelos #3 (both would be awesome, but the laws of physics just won’t allow that), #4, could be a warren type of who really finds his game, #5, will be a guy looking to reinvent his career type or a 2nd year of Garza (see above).

        The point is, I don’t see the Yanks handing out a contract to Hughes. I don’t think the Yanks are looking for a “5 year commitment” right now. I think the Yanks are definitely looking around for a #1 or #2 (as most teams are) to buy in the next year or two. Who will that be, I have NO idea. CC is awesome – has been awesome and will continue to be awesome, but its fair to say to that the Yanks should be prioritizing top of the rotation after this season, not another mid rotation guy. The Yanks have done filling out the back of the rotation in the past.

        And lets remember that its been written several times recently that free agency is changing and the new thing in baseball is swapping/moving multiple big contracts via trade. Who’s not to say that in mid 2014 the Giants collapse and go full on rebuild and we can acquire Cain for 2-3 years via trade. Who knows, but there are so many possibilities, which all lead me back to them not signing Hughes for 5 years.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I have very little faith in Halladay or Timmy doing much next year, although I do love me some Timmy.

    • Alex

      Halladay is confusing me. Last year, his peripherals were not Halladay like, but nowhere near as bad as his ERA suggested (7.6 k/9, 2.07 BB/9, 1.04 HR/9). And this year, his strike out rate (albeit through 34 innings) is higher than it’s ever been in his career, but a 4.46 BB/9 and 2.36!!!HR/9 have killed him. It seems like he still has something left, but it’s all out of whack. I don’t know how else to explain it.

      I of course would not want the Yankees to invest much into him or rely on him for anything next year, but wouldn’t mind giving it a try. And FWIW (not much), ZiPS and Steamer still project at low to mid 3’s in ERA and FIP. I guess what I’m trying to say is… I have no idea what’s going on with him

      • Robinson Tilapia

        The issue, to me, is much more the shoulder surgery than what his numbers looked like. Before the surgery, I’d be willing to take a chance that an aging pitcher can make some corrections and succeed on a low-risk deal. All bets are off now.

        • jsbrendog

          i feel like he is on a minorleague deal with serious ML pay / upside if he makes it.

          unfortunately, because of his last name he will get an ml deal prob and that is what makes me skeptical

      • MannyGeee

        I think the injury has a lot to do with it. If he comes back healthy, he could be a nice piece for someone who wants to try to reclamation route. He just SCREAMS 2014 Mets to me.

        • jsbrendog

          oh yeah, if i am the mets why the hell not?! i mean they signed marcum.

          • MannyGeee

            In fairness, Marcum pitched pretty damn effectively before the injury. Halladay, not so much

            • jsbrendog

              my money is on he was pitching with the injury last year which led to the diminished results and it got worse cause he just kept going. and now we are here. only problem is does someone his age come back from that kind of injury? no one knows.

  • nsalem

    Great pitchers rarely retire on top. If Pettitte and /or Kuroda keep on pitching like they have I think the odds are that neither will retire. Kuroda may very well go back to Japan, but if Andy continued he would stay here. The only pitcher in the 20 or 21st Century to leave the game with 250 wins without being finished or injured was Mussina. That’s it[s, no one else.

  • MannyGeee

    I would hate to see him go, and I am not convinced there is a “big ballpark” West Coast team that still has the money to spend on Hughes (save for the drunken sailors in Chavez Ravine)… but I have to think the Yankees will make a Qualifying Offer and throw 4/52 at him as a hometown discount type deal.

    And I don’t think he takes it. And that will bum me out.

    • vicki

      dodgers have five sp’s under contract for 2014, plus their kids, plus whomever they take on at the deadline. of course they know more than anyone you can’t have enough pitching, but i think the only yankee free agent they have their eyes on is our second baseman.

  • Leg-End

    Great age for a starter, solid numbers this year. I’d like to keep him purely because of the unknowns surrounding our other rotation pieces this offseason but not at an unreasonable price.

    He would benefit hugely playing in a fly ball friendly ballpark.

    • 6

      “I’d like to keep him purely because of the unknowns surrounding our other rotation pieces ”

      ^ This is an incredibly fair point, but the wrong way of thinking, in my opinion. I can understand how this would be everyones first reaction. “so much uncertainly” the Yanks SHOULD resign him.

      Nope I think this is precisely the wrong thing to do. I think the Yanks should really focus on the young arms, Pineda, Phelps, Banuelos, Warren, etc and 1 (MAYBE) 2 have to stick. The Yanks should really be holding out/looking out, for another top of the rotation guy for 2015. That player doesn’t seem to be available now, or in the offseason so I’m looking at mid 2014 already.

      • 6

        I’m getting some weirdly positive vibes from Warren by the way. Not sure if anyone else is, but I’m seeing the guy show some really neat composure on the mound. Looking like a Hughes lite. I think the Yanks should give him a start sometime soon since Nova seems to be out for a while.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Positive vibe? It’s THE ANTI-GREG!!!!

          • 6

            My zen thing, man. Meaning the guy is looking much better than what “other people” have said he could be. Positive being that maybe he will be a better pitcher than we think.

            • vicki

              he may have something, but i don’t think you can use his performance in low leverage situations (85% of his batters faced; only 1.35% high leverage). we’ve fallen for mop/long guys before, only to see them exposed.

        • nsalem

          By the time Nova comes back there may not be a place for him.

          • jsbrendog

            not necessarily a bad thing.

      • jjyank

        I’m not sure why that’s the wrong way to think. A rotation of CC/Pineda/Phelps/Warren/Banuelos/Nova or maybe an injury prone type guy (Halladay, Lincecum) could end up being an unmitigated disaster. Maybe not, but it certainly is a good possibility.

        To some extent, the Yankees will know what they’re getting with Hughes, at least more so than most of the options I just listed. Why is that thinking flawed? I think the Yankees should absolutely try to retain Hughes (at a reasonable price), and that is most definitely partly that there is a great deal of rotation uncertainty going forward.

        • JLC 776

          Exactly! You remember what happened when the Yankees tried to start two rookies in the starting 5 in 2008? I think Hughes and IPK went a combined 0-8 to start the season before being summarily sent back down.

          You just can’t throw multiple guys into the starting rotation like that!

  • trr

    what we have here is a good (but not great) 26 y/o pitcher who has battled (but overcome)injuries and whose main trademark has been inconsistency. Yet, his best years are in front of him. are any of the free agents avaialable demonstrably better options than he? 5 years, $60m +

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Shields? Garza? Haren? Lester?

      Of course, I’d take Lester and ten times out of ten, and I’d probably take the older Shields as well.

      Haren and Garza offer name value, but that’s it. I’d take Hughes for sure there.

      • CS Yankee

        Lester>>>>Sheilds>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Hughes>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Garza>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Haren.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Pretty much.

  • Reggie C.

    “QO” Hughes for 2014 and then hope Max Scherzer is still available in the 2015 free agent class.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      There were two other guys on Mike’s 2015 list I’d rather shoot for there. :)

      • 6

        Exactly! The Yanks should be putting their sole emphasis on 2015. Not 2014 and not giving ANY pitcher right now (i.e. offseason 2013-14) a 4 or 5 year commitment. The Yanks need to focus on Cano, and see what shakes out with Jeter. They need to see how the dollars fall into place for next year.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          That’s not at all what I said.

          • 6

            Good grief.

        • jjyank

          So you’re willing to completely punt the 2014 season then? Or am I not understanding you?

          • 6

            They’re not punting anything, man.

            CC
            Kuroda (I can definitely see him going one more)
            Pineda
            Warren/Phelps/Nova
            Garza or someone like that.

            I wouldn’t call that a “punt” at all. That’s a nice rotation if things could shake out like that. I understand your point and others that there is no guarantee that Kuroda comes back, that Garza is healthy or would even take a 1 or 2 year deal (which he’ll have too in my opinion). But dropping $60mm on Hughes for 5 years just isn’t the answer.

            • jjyank

              Saying that their “sole focus” should be on 2015 certainly implied that to me.

              You think signing Hughes long term isn’t the answer. Alright, that’s your opinion. I don’t think banking on Pineda, Garza, Phelps, Nova, and Warren is the answer. That’s quite the crap shoot you’re hoping for.

              • 6

                We must be watching two different Phil Hughes since we’re now injecting “crap shoot” into the conversation.

                • jjyank

                  I believe there is more certainty in what Phil Hughes will bring to the table than Phelps, Warren, Pineda, Nova, Halladay, and Lincecum. Maybe not Garza, but I stand behind my general point. If you’d rather slot those guys in there and cross your fingers, go for it. I wouldn’t do that.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Garza’s a free agent this year. I thought you said focus on 2015.

              Is there where I get to insert my own “good grief?”

    • mitch

      You can’t sit back and wait for the next ace to hit the market. Chances are it’s not going to happen any time soon. I also don’t think signing Hughes would get in the way of taking on another big contract should someone become available a year or two down the road.

  • slowleftarm

    The prices that average (or slightly better) pitchers can command is incredible!

  • dp

    You forgot the choice of trading the bum now to get something…anything.

    • jjyank

      He didn’t forget: “Technically, the Yankees could also try to trade Phil before this decision has to be made, but seeing as though they’ll likely not be sellers by the deadline, I just don’t see this happening, nor do I think they would get a ton in return anyway.”

      And he didn’t delve into it further because it’s a stupid option.

  • LK

    For those who said don’t offer him anything – are you planning on pitching CC all 162 in 2014?

    • Eddard

      Especially when I think this is Andy’s last year. Not sure about Kuroda. He’s still very effective but does he want to keep pitching?

      They don’t like Nova. Pineda isn’t back from injury yet. They think Phelps is a long reliever at best. Who else is out there in FA that is as young as Hughes and can be gotten for as low a price?

    • Betty Lizard

      I picked “don’t offer him anything” only in relation to the other choices, which were 4 and 5 year contracts.

      I’d make Hughes a qualifying offer. If he accepts, fine. If he walks, use the 1st round pick and see what happens with FAs.

      Other good pitchers have fallen into our laps while our complicated plans failed.

      Admittedly, I’m struggling to put aside my irrational dislike for Phil Hughes.

      • vicki

        it’s refreshing to differ in opinion with you for once.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    4/52 and 5/60 seem to be reasonable, so basically Edwin Jackson money. I wouldn’t offer more though.

    • jsbrendog

      i believe when we talked about this in another thread a ways back i suggested 13-15 mil a yr. or not. i dont remember. regardless that is what i am suggesting and agreeing with now haha

  • JLC 776

    I’m still a huge Hughes fan. Lock him up. He shows flashes of brilliance and his history has been sprinkled with enough injury that I’m hopeful that the stretches where he was bad are somewhat explainable. He’s 26, a solid back-end arm right now, and can easily be a good number 3 for us for years. We likely have no Kuroda or Pettitte next year, so securing arms is vital for this team.

  • Robert

    Trade him for some highly rated SS/3b prospects.Or just Qualify him at the end of the year.
    He has just been too inconsistant.

    • jjyank

      Like who?

      • jsbrendog

        trade him for someone!!

        who?

        ::radio silence::

        next day

        youre all idiots, trade him for someone awesome at ss!!! jeter wont be around forever!! nunez sucks!!

        eddard: blahblah nunez etc.

        jjyank: who, who do they trade him for?

        ::radio silence::

        • MannyGeee

          This guy gets it.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          The RAB experience in one small comment by jsbrendog.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Brycerickson Promachado.

        • jsbrendog

          i thought it was brykerickson proutchado

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Drafted after Dante Bichette, Jr., if I’m not mistaken.

  • Greg

    they aren’t going to offer anything now, and he wouldn’t accept anyway. He’ll go FA and the Yankees will make a qualifying offer, which he won’t accept. And then he’ll get an offer of around 5/75. Only question is how many of Phelps, Nova, Warren and Nuno prove out this year.

  • Kosmo

    Sabathia
    Kuroda
    Nuno
    Hughes
    Phelps
    Warren
    Pineda
    Marshall
    Turley
    Banuelos
    Ramirez
    NY´s rotation will be just fine in 2014 if they resign Kuroda. If Hughes improves on what he did in 2012 to let´s say an 18-10 WL with a 3.70 ERA then he´s going to easily get a 5yr 70-80mil payday.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      It’s a list to be hopeful about for sure. I’m not hopeful of finding five solid guys off that list alone, though.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    I’d do the 1 year qualifying offer, but not anything besides that.
    Hughes has pretty firmly established himself as a back end starter. There’s some value in that, but he’s not the kind of player they should be locking up long term.
    His peripherals suggest he’s a guy who will continue to put up the same numbers he has over the past couple years (ERA/FIPs around the 4.20-4.30 marks)
    I feel pretty confident that the Yanks can pick up guys off the scrap heap every year on 1 year pillow deals for a hell of a lot cheaper that would match or exceed the production of Hughes. I don’t think tying up a significant chunk of money into a player that’s guaranteed to be average is the best use of our resources.
    I do think if he hits free agency he will be looking at a 5 year 65m deal at least, but I don’t think he’s worth it.
    Just because the market dictates an average pitcher is worth that kind of salary doesn’t mean it’s good business. You put a great team on the field by getting surplus value out of players. I don’t see any upside with Phil.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      “I feel pretty confident that the Yanks can pick up guys off the scrap heap every year on 1 year pillow deals for a hell of a lot cheaper that would match or exceed the production of Hughes.”

      FWIW, I’m pretty confident that wouldn’t happen.

      • TheOneWhoKnocks

        It’s not that hard to find a league average pitcher. Every offseason there are at least a half dozen intriguing guys that end up settling for pillow deals.
        Just this past offseason it was guys like Haren, Kuroda, Pettitte, Marcum, Baker etc
        Last offseason it was Ejax, Maholm, Vazquez, Oswalt, Capuano
        The Yankees struck gold with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia a couple years ago.
        There won’t be a shortage of these types next year, or any year ever. Halladay, Lincecum, Garza, Maholm, Hudson, and potentially Kuroda and Pettitte again.
        Don’t break the bank for a back end starter, they are truly a dime a dozen.

    • Bill

      I agree that the qualifying offer is the way to go. I’d look to negotiate a long term deal on top, but it would have to be very team friendly. Hughes IMO is not a 13M+ per year pitcher on a long term deal.

      Also when you weigh the risk rewards of the qualifying offer you either get Hughes on a 1 year deal or a first round pick. That’s a win-win to me especially when you consider that losing Phil would not be damning to the team’s chances in 2014 and they could use that money to replace him or improve another area of the team.

      The Yankees have no reason to risk a long term deal unless they’re getting him below market.

  • losealot101

    basically, much of the yankees success has been predicated on stockpiling pitchers. with hughes you have a capable starter who is good for 14-18 wins/year when healthy. he also has potential to develop into a top of the rotation starter if he can learn to keep the ball in the park. why give up on that and watch someone like arizona or seattle reap the benefits after he had all his growing pains in NY?

  • Vern Sneaker

    Pettitte and Kuroda may or may not return, we can’t tell. Pineda, Warren, Marshall, Turley, Banuelos, Ramirez, et.al., even Nuno, are all still in the category of “maybe,” imo. Only Phelps and Nova have enough of a track record to know what we’ve got and it’s not enough (plus CC) to make the playffs in 2014. Hughes is a solid #4 and much much better than that sometimes and still just 26. I’d try to extend him now.

    • RetroRob

      Banuelos should be put in the “not available” category. He was injured in early 2012, which means he will have missed almost two years. He’ll be coming off TJS, and he never had a full year at AAA, or built his IP count up to the 150 range they were probably shooting for in 2012.

      The Yankees will no doubt restrict his innings next year and they will all be in AAA. He’s 2015.

  • qwerty

    The vast majority of people who voted to offer Hughes a multi year contract are so funny. I guess all it takes to alter a fan’s opinion of a player is how well he’s doing during any particular week.

  • Deathstroke Heathcott

    Assuming Phil continues his production till the ASB, I’d come to him and offer him 54 mill over 4 years with a team option for 11 mill. No negotiating necessary, just tell him if he doesn’t take the deal, we will make the qualifying offer on him. I think some combination of Phelps, Nova, Pineda, Warren, Nuno, or a free agent could replace most of what Hughes can do. In this case, I’d be fine with him either taking the deal or leaving it. Similarly I’d be fine with him taking the qualifying offer or getting us a supplemental draft pick.

  • Rob in CT

    4/$52 isn’t crazy, so I voted for that. I would also be ok with merely a qualifying offer.

  • Michael

    Hughes rhymes with lose. And they have to keep under the 189 mil threshold next year. He is injured a lot, he’s dependent on a fastball that is inconsistent, he has never really learned how to pitch. But since he’s a first round draft choice and a lifelong Yankee, people will want to keep him. But he will start losing his fastball, and the chances of him getting much better as a pitcher are not great. Plus, he’s a fly ball righty in Yankee stadium, not a good place for such pitchers. I’d offer him — nothing.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      And then he’ll die. Don’t sign him.

  • RetroRob

    Even if they don’t want to sign him long term, I sure hope they offer him a qualfying offer. Even if it’s $15M for one year, there is almost no chance that Hughes will sign it. With the risk of injury, he will want to lock in a four or five year deal, even if the AAV is lower than 15M.

    There will be plenty of teams who will give up a draft pick for a 27-old MLB pitcher. Outside of the very top picks, the history says Hughes is a better bet than those picks.

  • Dj

    I’d rather give anyone of those guys a one year deal then offer Hughes a multi year deal. Hoping to see Jose Ramirez make the jump to AAA this year and the a shot next year to make roster. Dude is a beast.