The New York Yankees are likely set to bid adieu to free agent-to-be Phil Hughes. The 27-year-old right hander has spent his entire professional career with the Yankees organization, but his peripherals aren’t conducive to a longer stay in the Bronx.
Whether or not the Yankees will make him an offer seems almost a non-factor. The team is aging, it doesn’t have a lot of financial flexibility, and while Hughes does strike out 7.6 batters per nine innings, he also has trouble with fly balls, which can really rub a young free agent the wrong way when pitching in the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.
It’ll more than likely come down to a bidding war for Hughes resulting him being over-paid, but that’s really the nature of free agency.
Hughes will be a bit of a commodity. He just turned 27, so he’s still young, but he already has six years of Major League experience, working into his seventh, and he will be boasting some post season experience. In addition, his WHIP is a slightly better than average 1.31, his strikeout/walk ratio is on the favorable side with a 2.68, and his ERA is a decent 4.47.
Hughes would presumably benefit from pitching in a more pitcher friendly or neutral environment, which makes him an ideal fit for Citi Field. That should immediately remedy his home run issue. It won’t cure it, but with the fences upwards of 15 feet further back at certain spots, that’ll certainly help lower the home runs given up.
Hughes is a commodity, and with nearly 40 innings worth of post season work under his belt at only 27 years old, he will come with a little knowledge, and a little young fire in him. Throwing both a two and four seam fastball that can tough up to 92, a Cutter in the high 80’s, all complimented with a slider, curveball, and changeup, this guy throws everything but the kitchen sink (which, thank goodness, because I’m too poor to replace it).
In my opinion, Alderson has done a great job with this franchise for the long term; However, not so much for the short term. With the Wilpons claiming the Mets will be buyers, an acquisition like Hughes will be a solid move. It won’t come too cheap, but I can see Hughes being a very consistent and respectable 3rd or 4th guy in the rotation that will surely be the core of this team in the future, behind Harvey, Wheeler, and in about a year (assuming he comes into fruition as planned *knock on wood*) Syndergaard.
Photo Credit: Michael Baron