The New York Yankees should not bring back right-handed pitcher Phil Hughes next year.
After another brutal start in the night game of a day-night doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers in which he went six innings, giving up 10 hits and five runs while striking out three and walking no one, his ERA has ballooned to 5.09 — that is the eighth worst in the American League.
Hughes is just not meant to pitch at Yankee Stadium. He is a notorious fly ball pitcher in a ballpark that is notorious for giving up home runs. The Yankees have the option to propose a qualifying offer to Hughes after the season for a salary in the $13-15 million range. Or the Yankees could simply let him become a free agent and could possibly get a no. 1 pick for him, if he does sign with another team.
The most frustrating aspect of Hughes’ game is his inability to put batters away with two strikes. Whenever he does get a batter into a good count, that batter subsequently fouls pitch after pitch off until he can get something he can handle and puts it in play.
He simply does not have an out pitch: his fastball is straight and not overpowering, his slider lacks bite at times and his command simply isn’t good. He started his career with a 12-to-6 curveball, then experimented with a cutter/slider and never developed a changeup, which is one of the most effective pitches in baseball.
It’s always good to have pitching depth, but Hughes is not meant for his home stadium. It will be interesting to see what happens at the end of the year with him, but in my opinion, he and the Yankees should part ways.