If there was ever a guy who needed a change, New York Yankees right-handed starter Phil Hughes might be him.
Hughes has had a dismal season so far, perhaps the worst of his career. He has only four wins as opposed to nine losses, along with a bloated 4.58 ERA that will only go up after today’s game–he went four innings and gave up five runs, earning a no-decision.
Ultimately, Hughes has not been the guy the Yankees thought he would be. Though I believe that they should trade him, they’ll have a hard time doing so; he only looks worse and worse with each start, stirring up little interest from other teams. Therefore, if he has to stay in New York, I think a move to the bullpen is in order.
Just look back at his 2009 campaign as evidence. Hughes appeared in 51 games that season, 44 of which were out of the bullpen. He posted an 8-3 record with 18 holds and three saves–all solid numbers. He struck out 96 batters in 86 innings, a ratio which is far above his ratio as a starter. Furthermore, Hughes posted a career best 3.03 ERA in 2009, and he was a key factor in the Yankees’ World Series Championship during that year.
Whenever I watch Hughes pitch, it looks to me like he runs out of steam around the fifth and sixth. He’s the kind of guy who would excel in long relief and spot start situations. But as a starter, I think he’s proven his limitations.