• Phil Hughes In His Walk Year

    Posted by on February 11th, 2013 · Comments (4)

    Via the Post -

    Phil Hughes is set to hit free agency for the first time after this season and it’s almost impossible to predict what type of pitcher he will be once he gets there.

    Over the last three seasons, he has looked like a future ace for the Yankees, then like someone who could barely get anyone out, before rebounding with a solid 2012.

    “Every year presents a challenge and it’s no different this year,” Hughes said over the weekend at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “I feel like I have a lot of pressure on myself to go out and have a positive year.”

    If he does, Hughes will be in high demand as a 27-year-old on the open market.

    But there are red flags, including the dead arm he had in 2011. Hughes pitched just 74 2/3 innings and had a 5.79 ERA while dealing with an alarming dip in velocity. And as well as Hughes pitched at times last year, he still gave up 35 home runs.

    This season, he likely will be the Yankees’ No. 4 starter behind CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte and ahead of Ivan Nova.

    His future in pinstripes is very much uncertain. He avoided arbitration this year by settling for $7.15 million and, with the cost-conscious Yankees looking for inexpensive arms, Hughes may not fit into their plans if he reaches his potential.

    “I’m not really thinking about that,” Hughes said. “I’m just trying to fix a few things that hurt me last year and stay healthy.”

    He worked out this offseason in Los Angeles with Kuroda and believes that will help him going forward.

    “He’s an animal,” Hughes said of Kuroda, who turned 38 yesterday. “Watching him work, you know why he’s been able to do this for so long. It was a positive experience and I think it’s going to pay off.”

    To date, Hughes has shown that he can be a league average starting pitcher when he’s not out of shape and/or injured. It will be interesting to see what a pitcher with such a resume can command on the free agent market coming off his age 27 season.

    I suspect that it may get him a five-year contract in the range of $60 million. (See the deal that Edwin Jackson got this year.)  But, the question is, who will give it to him?  And will it be the Yankees?

    Comments on Phil Hughes In His Walk Year

    1. MJ Recanati
      February 11th, 2013 | 9:40 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      I suspect that it may get him a five-year contract in the range of $60 million. But, the question is, who will give it to him? And will it be the Yankees?

      I agree, Hughes will get a contract somewhere in the 3-5Y range with an AAV of about $11M (give or take $1M).

      Who will give it to him? I don’t know that…but I know it won’t be the Yankees. Hughes and Chamberlain will both be pitching elsewhere next year.

    2. February 11th, 2013 | 10:31 am

      Joba will be gone, for sure.

      It’s amazing how he has lived off so little for so long.

      Hughes will be interesting. He’s not an ace. But, he’s not a total turd either. It would have been interesting to see what someone like Dave Duncan would have done with him…

      In any event, he’s not a great investment for a small revenue team. And, if I had a small park, like Camden or Philly, I am not sure that I would want him. Maybe the Mets would make a run at him with Santana off the books?

      I just fear that he has a big year in 2013 and then Cashman does something stupid…

    3. MJ Recanati
      February 11th, 2013 | 11:44 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      I just fear that he has a big year in 2013 and then Cashman does something stupid…

      The team seems to want to put all its eggs in the Cano basket so, no, Hughes won’t be back. I’d say it’s at least 90% that Hughes is gone.

    4. Corey
      February 11th, 2013 | 12:58 pm

      I definitely see the Giants giving Hughes some of the money they’ll be saving by getting Zito off the books after this year.

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