Neal: Twins agree to deal with Phil Hughes


Via LaVelle E. Neal: The Twins have agreed to sign Phil Hughes to a three-year contract worth $24M. I thought he would take a one-year deal, hope to rebuild value in 2014, then try to land a big contract next winter, when he would still only be 28. Hughes appears to have gone for the biggest payday instead, which is never a bad idea. Target Field should help his homerun problem, at least somewhat. The Yankees will not receive a compensation draft pick because they didn’t make Hughes a qualifying offer.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. forensic says:

    So sad to see him go.

    Just needed one more year to really hit his stride. Saw some real flashes from him this season…


    • Tom says:


      He should benefit from a bigger park… it was really just about him being a bad fit for Yankee stadium.

    • Los214 says:

      He did show some flashes for a couple of starts, but thats just it, no consistency. Good riddance Hughes, I’m glad we don’t have to see you implode in that one inning, of each start. You basically watched Hughes and said to yourself, ok, what inning is he gonna give it back, or just give it up. It was ugly to watch at times.

  2. Eddard says:

    LOL! I don’t know what’s more laughable, giving $8 million/yr for that trash or that there were Yankee fans who actually wanted him back. What’s next, lock Joba up until he’s 35 in the hopes that he’ll turn the corner? These are lost causes and have been for a couple years now. Be gone Philbert.

    • nycsportzfan says:

      I’m with ya. The guys not even respectable. Hes downright terrible. How the heck do you stink as much as phil hughes and get a 24million dollar contract? Minny would be better off just given the job to a kid and see what happens. Phil Hughes is gonna be awful , and i cant wait to watch him get tatooed against yanks.

    • lightSABR says:

      Here are Phil’s home/away splits for 2013.

      Home: 6.32 ERA, 4.82 FIP.
      Away: 3.88 ERA, 4.12 FIP.

      Here are his career home/away splits.

      Home: 4.96 ERA, 4.80 FIP.
      Away: 4.10 ERA, 3.78 FIP.

      The message of these numbers is not “loser who has no business pitching in the big leagues.” It’s “guy who desperately needs a change of scenery.” If you were some team other than the Yankees, wouldn’t you pay $24 million over three years for a pitcher who’s going to give you a 4.1 FIP during the 97% of his starts that aren’t at Yankee Stadium?

  3. forensic says:

    In all seriousness, he doesn’t seem to fit into the prototypical Twins pitcher that you think of. It seems they love their softer throwing, contact, groundball type pitchers. Hughes isn’t really any of those, generally.

    Wonder if they’re finally realizing that those other pitchers haven’t gotten them anywhere in years.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      I think they are. Just wait until Alex Meyer comes up sometime next year.

    • Andrew says:

      He’s the most prototypical Twins pitcher imaginable, in that he sucks completely.

      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        Do you know what a prototypical Twins pitcher is?

        For years they won 90 games a season without a single great pitcher, because they had 7 above average ones.

        • Andrew says:

          Oh yeah the Twins. Going places with above average. Brian Duensing! Nick Blackburn! Kevin Slowey! The model has worked so well. Of course the Twins are also the team Phil Hughes enjoyed his best ever playoff start against. No better org to pay mid rotation money for a swing guy at best. But hey they are the rare org to get innings out of Carl Pavano, miracles do happen.

        • Yeah, Johan Santana and 2006 Francisco Liriano were nothing great at all. Right.

          • nycsportzfan says:

            Johan was brought over in the 90′s for peat sake. Obviously, this team isn’t gonna bring up all duds, but they do seem to bring in and look for more mediocre pitchers then any other team in FA’cy. I mean, paying Nolasco and Hughes almost a combined 80million??lol Thats comical. Others they were intrested in? How about the awesome Mike Pelfrey?lol

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              That’s not very different from other mid-market teams, actually.

              If anything, they’re getting innings covered. Both guys are pretty durable.

    • JGYank says:

      The twins get guys that limit walks and Hughes does that. He is a strike thrower, his problem is giving up too many hits, fly balls, and homers. His k rate could be better but isn’t terrible and their park should help him. But still not worth $8M unless he finally puts things together. Unlikely he will but there’s a better chance it happens there than here.

      Can’t wait until the Twins come to NY and he’s on the mound. I would love to see that for multiple reasons.

      • FIPster Doofus says:

        Well, if a single win is worth $5-6 mill per year, Hughes should be worth $8M out of Yankee Stadium. I don’t see why he won’t be able to be an average starter for the next three years, which would justify the contract. Target Field is the right place for him. Yankee Stadium was just a bad fit, but he has the skills (and now the ballpark) to be decent.

      • forensic says:

        May 30-June 1 the Twins go to NY. Here’s hoping for lots of fireworks during the game (at least for the right team).

  4. FIPster Doofus says:

    That’s a good landing spot for Hughes. He’s a good guy and I hope he does well. He and Yankee Stadium couldn’t have been a worse fit.

  5. Blake says:

    I think Hughes is better than he was in 2013…..his one big wart is the homer rate and target field should help that a good but when compared to YS and the AL east.

    Many thought AJ was a total lost cause but he got of of NY and a better division for him and turned it around…..Hughes isn’t exactly the same because his struggles have been for different reasons but the result in a fresh start could be similar.

    Good deal for the twinkies I think

    • lightSABR says:

      I agree. I’m glad the Yankees didn’t bring him back, but I think the Twins are going to get more than their money’s worth out of him, and I think his next contract will be bigger than this one.

  6. CC says:

    The best part about his new team is that their name isn’t spelled “Y-A-N-K-E-E-S”

    See ya, Phil.

  7. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Maybe I’ll be able to turn this all into a couple of hundred thousand bucks from a Royals blog just yet.

    Good luck, Phil. The thrill ended long ago. It’s like learning your ex is banging someone else and really not giving a shit anymore.

  8. Dr TJ Eckleberg says:

    That’s a good deal for everyone. I think he’ll be worth more than that there. He wasn’t going to be worth that contract for the Yankees, but he has a shot of doing something in a place like Minnesota. Good for him.

  9. Daniel says:

    Funny how 6 years the Yankees refused to trade Hughes to the Twins in a trade for Johan in what was meant to be a future ace for an ace at the time and now injuries ruined Johan’s career and Hughes never lived up to the hype yet he still ends up with the Twins.

  10. BrianMcCannon (formerly HateMclouth) says:

    Guess we’ll continue to own the Twins for the next 3 years at least.

    Best of luck, Phil.

  11. Betty Lizard says:


    Peace on earth and good will to Minnesota!

  12. He’ll have right around a 3.50 ERA next year and win 12 games and Yankee fans will cry like they did with A.J. Burnette’s success in Pittsburg. Good guy, good stuff, decent pitcher just not built for New York or their stadium.
    Best of luck Phil.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      I agree overall, though a 3.50 ERA seems optimistic. I think it’ll be closer to 4.00. Either way, the Twins gained a decent pitcher for a reasonable price. I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t do a satisfactory job for them. Those two sides are a good fit, whereas he and Yankee Stadium were a match made in hell. Given his flyball ways, that was never going to change. All Yankees fans should remember that if he does well as a Twin.

      • forensic says:

        All Yankees fans should remember that if he does well as a Twin.

        Yeah, good luck with that.

      • Yea maybe I was low balling on the 3.50 but Twinkie fans shouldn’t be disappointed. I’m willing to bet he lives up to and possibly exceeds this contract fans are calling an overpay by the twins.

      • sas says:

        How is that a reasonable price for a 0.37 WAR pitcher? It is insane! He has zero chance of living up to that deal.

        • FIPster Doofus says:

          Zero chance to live up to 3/24? Right. Hughes doesn’t even have to average 2 WAR a year to live up to this deal. Again, pitching in Yankee Stadium ruined him. He was always respectable away from there. Target’s a great spot for him to rebound.

        • lightSABR says:

          Look at his numbers outside of Yankee Stadium. I posted the ERA and FIP above, which are the most important, but try this one on for size.

          Phil Hughes’ career HR/9 at home: 1.69
          Phil Hughes’ career HR/9 away from home: 0.86

          I have this funny feeling that switching from 15 starts per year in Yankee Stadium to 1 or 2 starts per year in Yankee Stadium is going to mean a lot for Phil’s WAR.

    • Captain Turbo says:

      Was any Yankee fan crying when AJ did well in Pittsburgh? Seriously? It must have been those real quiet sobs cuz I don’t remember hearing a thing.

    • RetroRob says:

      Yankee fans crying over AJ Burnett: crickets.

  13. Great, Paul Walker died and now THIS?

    Day ruined.

    But seriously, I was probably one of the biggest Hughes supporters over the years. It’s a sad day to see a prospect that we all really pulled for move on. I wish Phil all the luck.

    • Terrible huh? On his way back from a charity no less.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Of course it’s sad.

      Going back to the ex banging someone else analogy, we gave this relationship seven years of our lives. We did everything we could. If it works better with someone else, then they just were meant to be. I’ll buy them a wedding present.

  14. Wheels says:

    Good for him, hope he finds success. Except when he faces the Yankees of course.

  15. Slu says:

    Glad he got paid. Even more glad he isn’t on the Yankees anymore.

  16. forensic says:

    Now there’s a report that the Twins are nearing a deal with A.J. Pierzynski.

    I wonder if he’ll punch Hughes in the face during his first 3 HR allowed game or his first 1+ IP, 6 ER allowed implosion. :-)

  17. SDB says:

    Oh god, how many times is he going to pitch to Miggy Cabrera now that he’s in the AL central?

  18. CashmanNinja says:

    I didn’t hate Hughes, but he just wasn’t fit for Yankee Stadium. Sometimes parks really do have players that just aren’t fit for them in any way, shape, or form…Hughes is living proof. I think he’ll be MUCH better in a place out of the spotlight that will help keep his HR total in check.

  19. Chelo says:

    Man, not going to lie a little sad about this. The reason I’m on this website right now and I’m sure many of us is #PhillHughes. He’s the prospect that got me interested in our farm system, he was my first prospect crush. I still remenber how dominant he was in 06 in Trenton, and all the promise.

  20. JB Early says:

    I wish the best for Phil – but he should’ve gone to the NL. End of another NYY
    error. . ..

  21. Nathan says:

    Right or wrong, I’ll always view Phil and Joba together. When I see Phil, I’ll think of Joba and vice versa. So much promise and so much potential.

    And it’ll be so fitting and I expect that Phil will throw a shutout his first time hosting the Yankees.

  22. Claudell says:

    Good riddance.

  23. 461deep says:

    Good luck Phill. Took 24 M as it bought him 3 more years in the bigs unless he tanks completely. Seems like the Twins, Mariners and Mets all went from good to fair hitting teams as soon as they moved into spacious new ballparks which contributed to their losing ways. Shea was not small but not as big as CF. The 2 domes were homer havens. Griffey should have played his whole career in the Kingdome where he hit 30 to over 50 hrs yearly. No big hitter wants to play in a wheat field. GM’s should know this and realize if you have banjo hitters you need 3 number 1′s to win. Firm believer that ball park size can add to your confidence or deflate it.

  24. Captain Turbo says:

    Next up… Joba signs with the Toledo Mud Hens for 3/24K.

  25. sas says:

    Hughes the last three seasons averaged a WAR of 0.37 for a combined 1.1. 1 point of WAR is worth about $5.2 mil. So Hughes true salary is less than $2 mil. The Twins are going to pay him 4 times his worth and guarantee him three years while doing it. This might be the stupidest contract I’ve ever seen and a prime example of the madness of baseball gms.

    • lightSABR says:

      You’re abusing WAR. You need to look deeper into the stats to see if there are reasons to believe that his performance going forward will be better than it has been, and I can give you two really good ones:

      1) He performs much, much better on the road than at Yankee Stadium.
      2) He’s going to be facing weaker batters than he would in the AL East.

      I think it is likely that Hughes will earn his $24 million, and that his next contract will be bigger than this one.

      • Slu says:

        He may be better on the road, but he still stinks on the road. I think you over value Hughes as he has been getting worse over the last 3 years, not better.

        • lightSABR says:

          Stinks by what metric? Give me some numbers. The ones I see don’t agree with you.

          • Slu says:

            You cited them yourself. His career ERA and FIP on the road are nothing special. And career, his xFIP is worse on the road. In 2 of the last 3 years, he has had a negative WAR per BRef.

            ERAs on the road the last 3 years: 4.14, 4.76, 3.88
            xFIP on the road the last 3 years: 5.36, 4.08, 4.88

            MLB average ERA the last 3 years: 3.94, 4.01, 3.87

            Hughes is wildly inconsistent and at his very best, he is league average. He doesn’t pitch enough innings and can’t put hitters away. And in one of the last three years, he was actually better at home. And that was the only one of the last three years where he wasn’t awful. Hughes is a below average starting pitcher. He is closer to average on the road, but still below average. It is reasonable to expect some improvement in a new park, but anything other than a marginal improvement would be surprising to me. Especially since he has shown no improvement in the last three years. Every single metric shows that Hughes is a below average pitcher. To me, that equals “stinks”. He also severely fails the eye test. Throws straight meatballs.

  26. Jersey Joe says:

    If Pavano was able to rebound there, so will Hughesy.

  27. RetroRob says:

    I suspect Joba will be joining him there.

  28. qwerty says:

    This deal is a complete head scratcher if you’re a twins fan. What precisely do they think that they can do with Phil Hughes for him to be worth 8 million a year for 3 years? I was actually hoping to see Hughes contend for a cy young in the NL.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      That’s definitely a valid criticism of this deal. The same can be said for the Nolasco signing. Both pitchers will improve the Twins’ rotation, but not to any significant extent. The team is still gonna be bad.

  29. Darren says:

    Damn, Ted Lilly retired after 15 seasons. Crazy it’s been so long. Stupid Jeff Weaver

  30. Brandon W says:

    Everyone harps on the homers, but Hughes real problem was not taking advantage when he was ahead in the count (which was a lot!). Blame it on not having a plus put-away pitch (how many different curve ball grips has he tried now?), only having 2.5 pitches (counting his change as a half), or whatever.

    Honestly, nothing Hughes does would surprise me at this point. He could make one little adjustment to his curve or changeup and become a 4 WAR pitcher, he could endless tinker without perfecting anything and be stuck at 1 WAR, or he could end up a 2 WAR closer. As examples.

    It was obvious the Yankees were down on him, so I’m just happy to see him get paid. What happens from here is all him.

    • Kosmo says:

      Bingo !

      Hughes has always gotten off to slow starts. Pitching in the frozen tundra will be of some interest for those who care about such things. He´s pitched to a career ERA of about a run lower on the road and has faired reasonable well vs. AL central teams.
      In 2012 he was much better at YS , 11-4 with a 3.70 ERA .
      Hughes has easily been the most frustrating of recent Yanks. Once the sky was the limit for Hughes or so it seemed, now he´s just a huge question mark. Good luck !

  31. Mike HC says:

    I will still root for Hughes but I couldn’t take one more year hoping this was the year he would figure it all out. Now the Twins can hope that this will finally be the year he figures it out.

  32. Grover says:

    Hughes at 3/$24M supports Garza, Santana and Ubaldez getting more years and double the money. Looking at the remaining holes in the roster, I’m digging Nuno, Phelps and Warren right now. Get Pineda some PEDS. For as little faith as I have in Hughes to develop a put away pitch, I have less in those three to provide value anywhere near their cost. I would rather Cashman overpays for Headley about now.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Having Headley at third for a season or two won’t mean you Jack shit if you’re running that rotation out there.

  33. Farewell Mo says:

    I guess this deal confirms the Yankees were smart in not giving Hughes a QO.

  34. SMK says:

    Always just a wipeout slider away from being a pitcher who could dominate. 0-2 or 1-2 on everyone, just never had a putaway pitch.

    He seems like a good guy. Best of luck, Phil.

    • Farewell Mo says:

      Pretty much every major league starter is just a “wipeout slider” away from being dominant.

      All Hughes really had was a pretty good, not great fastball that in the words of Keith Law he couldn’t really command and was pin straight.

  35. Mouse says:

    This should be a lesson for the Yankees, don’t go for fly ball pitchers, especially righthanded ones.

  36. Jersey Joe says:

    Damn Phil, can’t believe I tolerated you for seven years.

  37. Mike says:

    Smart not to offer a QO. It was obvious that Hughes would’ve accepted it.

  38. gargoyle says:

    Tell Cano to piss off and trade for Matt Kemp.

  39. tommy cassella says:

    whatever anybody says, I will not miss hughes. whenever he pitched, balls would just fly out of the ball park.

  40. Ian Kennedy says:

    Save The BIG 3!!!!

    Great prospects they were, its a shame they didnt work out the way it was planned. They all had their moments, and Kennedy did end up netting us Granderson. Never will forget the first few months of Joba’s career, and of course the Joba rules. Hughes the same, had some great moments. That epic start against the Rangers when he got hurt, and most of 2010 was great to watch. Best wishes to both Joba and Phil.

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