When the Minnesota Twins signed free agent starter Ricky Nolasco it really made news swirl around in the MLB media. To follow that by snatching Phil Hughes off of the market was even more of a big deal. If you look at the ERA column for Hughes though it might appear that the Twins should have aimed for someone else to thicken their starting five. Look a little closer and you’ll see what Hughes really brings.
Okay sure his ERA is not going to be down around Kershaw territory. That isn’t everything to a starting rotation though. He has had multiple years with a ton of innings and has won 16 games once and 18 games another time. Should the Twins have paid for a guy with a four to five ERA? Maybe or maybe not but if you ask if they should have sought the services of a 180+ innings guy who could win them 15 games the answer is an easy yes.
When the Twins are going about things this Spring Training, watch for a little different swagger in their step. Hughes is as big of a part of the change of attitude happening in Minnesota as anyone else. The guys on that team know by what they have seen so far that Hughes is going to be a gamer. He’ll throw a good number of innings when healthy and that will save that bullpen.
Hughes has nothing to prove this spring. All he has to do is show up, be himself and be a member of the Twins. Chances are good that he will hit every mark he sets for himself and probably start the season with a better overall outlook and feel than he has had in recent memory.