Is it possible that the Minnesota Twins could actually go after a young, affordable, front-of-the-rotation potential type of free agent starting pitcher this off-season? If you believe 1500ESPN.com’s Phil Mackey, the possibly is certainly out there. According to Mackey, the Twins will be in the market—obviously—to pursue some additions for their starting rotation and among the pitchers the team may target is New York Yankees’ free agent to be, starting pitcher Phil Hughes.
Hughes would be a nice target for the Twins as he fits the mold of the type of players that the team covets and is searching for to build their team around: young, affordable and potential filled. Given Hughes’ tough 2013, there is a good chance that the Twins could entice Hughes to sign a contract at a bargain level in order to raise his stock and hopefully get his career trajectory back on track. In addition, the Twins can offer Hughes a contract long-term—two years or more—due to the above listed reasons, which also may be of interest to Hughes.
Hughes, 27, was once considered one of the top prospects in baseball and his career so far has shown flashes of that potential, but has been riddled by injuries and inconsistency. For his seven year career—all with the Yankees—Hughes has accumulated a 56-48 record with a 4.48 ERA, 1.308 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 7.6 SO/9 and owns one career All-Star appearance. His best season came in 2010 when he went 18-8 with a 4.19 ERA in 29 starts, but also went 16-13 last season with a 4.23 ERA. Hughes still is a solid pitcher in this league and has the ability to dominate the game in any start. He simply has fallen on tough times this season and needs another opportunity to bounce back. Maybe getting away from the media circus and spot light that is New York City would do some good for Hughes—a la Carl Pavano—and the Twins would be a great place for Hughes to land.
If you consider the type of rotation the Twins will feature next season with Kevin Correia, Samuel Deduno and possibly Andrew Albers, Liam Hendriks, Kyle Gibson, Scott Diamond, Vance Worley or whoever else the Twins bring in, Hughes would be a great addition and upgrade over what the Twins current offer. Mike Pelfrey may be leaving via free agency and the Twins will have at least one open spot in the rotation. In order to turn the rotation around, the Twins will need their young prospects to mature quickly or they will have to sign free agent pitchers, preferably ones that are young, affordable and are on contracts that they accept in order to get their careers back on track; Hughes fits that bill.
While it may cost the Twins somewhere in the five million dollar range to sign Hughes this off-season, just remember that the Twins are giving Correia five million dollars a year to pitch a season; so think to yourself: since the Twins already pay Correia five million a season, wouldn’t Hughes deserve at least that much to pitch for the Twins? The answer, I believe, needs no further elaboration.