Martino: Hughes open to pitching in relief next season

Report alleges A-Rod's people leaked un-redacted Biogenesis documents
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Via Andy Martino: Impending free agent Phil Hughes indicated a willingness to pitch out of the bullpen next year. “I feel like pitching at this level is a blessing in any way,” he said. “So if teams value me as a starter, that’s great. If not, and that’s their opinion, we’ll see what happens. We will see how it shakes out.”

Hughes, 27, has an ugly 4.97 ERA (4.71 FIP) in 125 innings across 23 starts this season. He’s never not be awesome in relief — 1.44 ERA (1.93 WHIP) in 56.1 innings, most coming in 2009 — and at this point it’s clear he’s best suited for a bullpen role. The Yankees are losing Mariano Rivera to retirement and Joba Chamberlain (and Boone Logan?) to free agency this winter, so they will need to dig up some replacement relief arms. I’m guessing the team will cut ties completely, but there would definitely be a place for Hughes in the bullpen going forward.

Report alleges A-Rod's people leaked un-redacted Biogenesis documents
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  • BTG

    This doesn’t make any sense to me. Even with a down year, Hughes would command at least $10 million a year from a multi-year deal. He’s won 17 and 15 games in the past and teams value that (even if they shouldn’t). Why would he accept significantly less than he can get on the open market? Relievers generally make a fraction of starters. Unless he feels more comfortable in the bulpen and he thinks he can be the closer (which I guess is possible), I am not sure why he would sell himself short.

    • Jackson

      They tried to trade him and no one wanted him. He has completely destroyed his value with his wishy washy Charlie Brown style pitching.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Charlie Brown had a great 12/6 curve once upon a time.

        Lucy failed.

    • Butt Pirate

      Not a shot Hughes gets 2 years – $20M or more next year… He has really screwed himself over with his putrid performance this season… All Hughes had to do this season was post say 15 wins with a ERA around 4 or lower and he would have cashed in with a $50M+ contract.

      If I were Phil I would sign a 1 year deal with an NL West team with a big ballpark (SF/SD/LA) and try to have a big year next year to try to cash in after the 2014 season.

      • nyyankfan_7

        That’s all he had to do?

        That is something less than 25 pitchers in all of baseball did last year, so he had to go from being a #4 to a #2? I think he would have got much more than $50 mil for that.

        Hughes will get a multi year $10 mil/yr deal. He’s young and his arm is still attached.

    • Revan

      Because teams aren’t stupid enough to give crap a 10 million dollar AAV. If Hughes was a Red Sox everyone would say that he belongs in AAA. Stop overvaluing him. No one wanted him at the deadline and no one will want him for anything more than depth during free agency.

    • JGYank

      No chance he gets more than $10M a year when all teams have to do is point to his stats to lower the price. A team dangling a struggling player in their prime is not a good sign for that player or his market.

  • Greg

    nice early Hughes marketing piece for the other 29 teams.


    PH didn’t come out and say he wants to be a RP. IMO he is just answering a question and keeping options open. He’ll get offers to be a SP, maybe not the big $ many thought he’d get a beginning of year, but still more $ than a RP.
    We can talk about his need for secondary pitches etc. But if nothing else, if just got out of YS he would be pretty good. His splits are eye opening. 17 HRs @ home 6 on road. Since 2009, approx 70 HRs @ home 29 on road. Teams know this..somebody will make him an offer.

    • nyyankfan_7

      Yeah I agree. No where in that statement do I read “I’m willing to be a RP”.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I’d commented on this within another thread when this first came out, but pretty much ditto what a couple of guys said above me. Phil’s agent should be duct-taping his mouth right now.

    If the thinking out there still is “he’ll do fine in a big stadium,” he’s going to command a higher salary as a risky mid-rotation guy than he will as a potential high-leverage reliever.

    If he’s willing to say things to make his own earning potential shrink like that, it’s not too crazy to say he’d take the QO from the Yankees. Wonderful.

  • kenthadley

    I think it’s a mistake to NOT tender him. A 27 year old pitcher who is healthy and a former 17 game winner will definitely get a 2-3 year deal at 9-10 mil per year on the market. He’s considered a “buy low” item outside of YS3….other teams will see him as a Nick Swisher steal. He should be tendered, along with Grandy and Kuroda. Worst case he takes 14 mil, Yanks eat some and trade him as a 10 mil/one year starter…it would be an easy move assuming he’s healthy when it’s done. Or, he’s a candidate to replace Mo…we paid Soriano for two years, we can do the same with Hughes for one. But I doubt he’d accept the tender.

    • SMK

      $14M for PH? That’ll work out to $1M per loss.

      No thanks.

      • Gio

        So if a pitcher making $20M a year loses once in a season, that’s $20M per loss. Would you not want him either?


    • JKwok

      This is a very tough call. Hughes has a good arm with great stress on his delivery. If the Yankees are not going for the $189MM payroll, I would absolutely agree with you. With the payroll of $189MM and the status un-clear with A-Rod. I would pass on Hughes for $14MM/yr. I think it is a smart move by Hughes to be open minded to be a Reliever. His FB velo might return to 95+ as it was during the 2009 stretch. He could do well as a Reliever. Mo was a failed started turned reliever. Phil has a chance there.

  • Radiokev

    I’ve always dug Hughes’ style. The results aren’t always there (barely as of late), but I respect the way he handles himself.

    I think this comment is right in line with his down to earth approach. He realizes he hasn’t been getting the job done, but he won’t be a drama queen about being a starter.

    • mac1

      Not giving you a hard time but I feel exactly the opposite way. I find Hughes very bland, especially now its almost like he expects to do poorly. Saying he’d go to the pen sounds to me as if he’s giving up.

      Regardless, its all about results, but when a guy is doing poorly I’d rather see some fight in what he says rather than reignation.

  • Jackson

    I wish they could release him right now.He gets afraid with two strikes. He is useless.He keeps going back to his crappy cutter and hanging slider.And a four seamer, over and over. He threw 5 pitches to a guy in the same spot when he gave up the homer, then fell apart as usual.

  • Eddard

    He’d be better as a reliever, not sure why they didn’t move him there this season. He could at least be as good as Jobber. In the pen Hughes can ramp up his FB for 1-2 innings and use his curve as a compliment. He’s a 2 pitch pitcher and that’s a reliever, not a starter. With Mo retiring they will need help in the pen so maybe it’s worth a shot, but not as a starter.

  • Chris Z.

    Way to hurt the Yankees Phil! Now they have to be even more careful about offering him arb. As a starter he would turn it down instantly but as a reliever 14 mill would be great.

  • Vern Sneaker

    All those millions for a #5 starter with just two (not so terrific)pitches? No way. He’ll probably do somewhat better in a bigger park, but still not worth the $$. A 1.93 WHIP in relief, good God.

  • UncleArgyle

    Lol he’ll consider it? That’s like a prisoner “considering” taking parol over staying in jail. If Hughes wants to keep calling himself a big league ball player he’ll go to the pen w a big smile on his face.

  • trr

    It’s tough to say what Hughes’ market value will be. Obviously, his poor season has hurt him….Giving him a Q/O seems almost like a game of chicken at this point. Off the top of my head, yes, he may be better suited to a BP role, but at what price? Like eveything else, the $189m cap may dictate his staying with the club or not.

  • Kramerica Industries

    He might be a fine fit and he might be an excellent reliever, but given his background with this organization, I’d much rather just see this homer-prone stubborn jackass leave altogether.

  • Reply Fail

    Wouldn’t it be great if Hughes and Joba sign with San Diego. Big three reunion lol.

  • Greg

    good news for Phil is that SF and SD both suck, so it won’t cost them a #1 if we give Phil a QO.

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      Exactly. If I were Hughes I’d turn down the QO and sign with SF, at which point they’ll get credit for miraculously turning him into a strong #3 starter when he drastically cuts down on his HR/9.

  • Vern Sneaker

    From where I sit he’s a total project at this point: his fastball is straight and entirely hittable, and his curve is inconsistent. He needs a decent third pitch (change-up?) and to learn how to get movement on his fastball. Otherwise I don’t think he’s going to have success anywhere whether as a starter or in the bullpen.I mean, at what point does the wishful thinking stop?

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      I’m assuming it will stop when pitchers I with identical peripherals stop having lots of success in large stadiums.

      • HTD

        What pitcher has identical peripherals with Hughes that has success in a large stadium? Jered Weaver? Weaver still gets more ground balls than Hughes does, and Weaver gets a ton more swings and misses than Hughes (Weaver has a career 9.5% swinging strike% while Hughes is at 8.3%, even with 2009 included when he recorded a 10.4%)

        Career FIP/xFIP:
        Weaver 3.66/4.08
        Hughes 4.34/4.31

        Weaver is also 4 years older than Hughes with 2 straight certifiable ace seasons in 2010 and 2011. I don’t see the comparison

      • HTD

        This is also me vaguely remembering you comparing Hughes to Weaver. If I mistook you for someone else, my bad

        • Cool Lester Smooth

          That was me, but the same also goes for IPK and Matt Cain.

          By the by, comparing their FIPs makes it look like you utterly missed my point. They are completely irrelevant, as only difference between Hughes and Weaver’s career FIPs is a .35 difference in HR/9, which I’m arguing is largely due to the difference in home park.

  • HTD

    I don’t understand why people think that sticking Phil Hughes in an NL West park will suddenly make him a good pitcher. Just look at his splits this year:

    Home: 8.65 K/9, 1.83 BB/9, 5.12 FIP 3.91 xFIP
    Away: 6.23 K/9, 3.36 BB/9, 4.21 FIP, 4.95 xFIP

    Home or away, Phil Hughes is a decidedly below-average pitcher. Not only that but his swinging strike% is an average 8% this year, and his batted ball numbers this year are again terrible:

    Home: 0.63 GB/FB, 17.0% HR/FB
    Away: 0.60 GB/FB, 6.9% HR/FB

    That 6.9% away rate is basically unsustainable. Kyle Lohse, who is a better pitcher than Phil Hughes (albeit older) got 3/33 last year. There is zero chance Hughes gets a 10 million/year offer this offseason. No matter how you look at it, he is a garbage starting pitcher, regardless of setting

    • JGYank

      The differences in his strikeout rates and walk rates in his home/road splits are very odd. Any explanations?

  • dkidd

    this year has really been the perfect storm. even with all the injuries/offensive woes, if we had the 2012 versions of cc, andy and phil we’d be fighting for the division right now

  • Jim Cavanaugh

    Seen enough. See ya later. I pray they don’t extend him that qualifying offer. He was a good bullpen weapon once upon a time & they likely should have left him here but the pitching geniuses here screwed that up. Oh well, Bon Voyage Hughsey.

  • Matt DiBari


  • It’s a Long Way to the Bronx (If You Wanna Hirok ‘N’ Roll)

    I have been to two Yankees games this season. Both were started by Phil Hughes. The Yankees won both. And no, you cannot predict baseball, Suzyn.

    Would you believe Phil even got the win in one of them?

    • Joe Wilson

      YOU LIE!