New York Yankees Putting Damper on Phil Hughes' Pending Free Agency

By Adam Fischer
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees will most likely not try and re-sign right-handed pitcher Phil Hughes in the offseason because of the horrid stats he has compiled this season. They might propose a qualifying offer in pursuit of a draft pick if another team matches it, but certainly will not try to get a multi-year deal done. Even though Hughes has not made his pending free agency easy on himself, the Yanks, in recent weeks, have made it even more difficult for teams to bid for him.

His last two starts have been short lived, with manager Joe Girardi having an extremely short leash on him, especially because of the playoff race that the team is in. Every time Hughes is in a mini jam, the bullpen starts to get warm, and when runs are put on the opponent’s scoreboard, Hughes has been pulled immediately. After Hughes gave up a two-run home run in the fourth yesterday, he was replaced with left-hander David Huff; those were the only runs he gave up in a game he was pitching relatively well. In his start before that, also in the fourth inning, he let up a hard hit ball to third, which Eduardo Nunez booted, even though he should have made the play, and Huff took his place, though Hughes had only given up one run.

It’s understandable to yank Hughes that quickly in the heat of a postseason chase; his ERA on the year is 5.07. He should not give any manager, team or fan any confidence when he is on the mound. It just has to be demoralizing for a pitcher who once had so much promise for a team that thought he could be a mainstay in their rotation and who they could build around for years to come. Hughes is still just 27 years old and should be hitting his prime, but that has not come to fruition in pinstripes, and a change of scenery would be best for both parties. He is simply not meant to be a Yankee with his 8.5 percent career home run to fly ball ratio (league average is 7.6%), which directly correlates to Yankees Stadium propensity to let up homers. A spacious ballpark will definitely help his chances to be a more productive pitcher, but the way the Yankees are handling him down the stretch, it’s unclear how many takers there will be on Phil Hughes’ services.


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