Browsing Posts tagged Phil Hughes

Less than 72 hours remain in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes. I’ve written a scouting report, valuation study, and just some general thoughts.  Overall, I think a six-year, $120 million deal is pretty reasonable. However, two of baseball’s richest teams, the Yankees and Dodgers, as well as new regimes in Arizona and Chicago have also shelled out nine figure offers. When the competition is this fierce, someone is going to pay a premium. Tanaka’s agent, Casey Close, has done an excellent job keeping negotiations quiet, so we don’t know where each team stands.

When we compare Tanaka to the entire free agent pitching market, it’s not even close–and Close knows that. Based on age alone, Tanaka is three years younger than the next pitcher (Phil Hughes). Skill-wise, an argument can be made that Tanaka has the best ‘stuff’ among free agent pitchers. This article will show us why we shouldn’t be shocked when Tanaka signs a deal in excess of $140 million.

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Many players change hats during the free agency. However, not many former ‘top prospects’ leave their first team at the age of 28. Free agent  RHP Joba Chamberlain agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Detroit Tigers. Detroit also inked closer Joe Nathan in free agency so Joba is expected to compete for a 7th or 8th inning role. Joba was terrible last season, posting a career worst 4.93 ERA in 45 appearances. Still, many wonder what ‘may have been’ if Joba’s role was clearly defined when he first joined the Yankees in 2007. During the second half of the 2007 season, Joba captivated New York with his 100 MPH fastball and devastating slider out of the Yankee bullpen. During his six season in pinstripes, the Yankees weren’t sure whether they wanted to utilize Joba as a starter or reliever and this may have led to his inconsistencies. Randy Levine once called Joba the Yankees ‘answer to Josh Beckett’, which seems comical now. 

Even though he became an afterthought at the end of his Yankee career, I’ll always have fond memories of Joba. Joba’s infamous ‘bug game’ in Cleveland will always have a special spot in baseball history. No one could question his heart or determination as he delivered passionate arm pumps after recording big outs. Don’t forget about ‘Joba Rules’, either. Alike Phil Hughes, maybe a change of scenery will help resurrect Joba’s career. 

Joba wasn’t the only member of the Yankee bullpen to leave. LHP Boone Logan agreed to a three-year, $16.5 million (!) contract with the Colorado Rockies. Logan was known as a lefty specialist with a plus fastball who struck out 202 batters in 176 innings as a Yankee. Despite a high strikeout rate, Logan’s inconsistencies drove Yankee fans insane. Logan also had issues with his left elbow during Spring Training and he had bone spurs removed in October. During his four seasons in pinstripes, Logan’s appearances greatly varied year-to-year. Logan went from 51-to-64-to-80-to-63 appearances which displays erratic usage by Joe Girardi. We don’t know if the Yankees made him a formal offer, but Colorado definitely paid a premium since the allure of left-handed, strikeout artists are rare, regardless of their inconsistencies. 

The Yankees (46-39), winners of four straight games, sit five games behind the Red Sox in the AL East. The 2013 Yankees have been decimated by injuries and continue to rely on mediocre, fill-in players. During this week, the Yankees added shortstop, Luis Cruz and thus far, this addition has not paid off. Cruz has two errors in two games with the Bombers. The Yankees sorely miss the production vacated by Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, and Derek Jeter. While A-Rod, Granderson, and Jeter should return this season, their time tables are unknown. With July 30th trade deadline just three weeks away, should the Yankees look to add help or wait until their stars return?

The Yankees brass keeps insisting that Granderson, A-Rod, and Jeter should all return by the end of the month. This thinking indicates that the Bombers will not buy aggressively at the trade deadline. The Yankee brass can continue to remain optimistic, but even if its star trio does not return by the end of the month, the Yankees may not know which positions they’ll need to fill. The AL East has also been extremely competitive, so the Yankee brass may decide its better to hang onto their prospects and build towards 2014. MLB Futures lines list the Yankees odds as +1,200 to win the AL East, so most people aren’t expecting a big run by the Bombers. We’ll see if the Yankee brass agrees with this sentiment.

Because of the impending future of Michael Pineda, the Yankees are likely to field trade offers for free-agent-to-be, Phil Hughes. Hughes’ fly ball tendencies do not translate well within the small confines of Yankee Stadium, so expect the San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Dodgers to make offers. Joba Chamberlain is also slated to hit free agency and a trade to either the Atlanta Braves or Detroit Tigers seems likely.

As the second half unfolds, keep an eye on the Yankees’ record. Their progress over the next two weeks will dictate whether they make any moves. Given the state of the AL East, the Yankees may decide to keep their young pieces and build towards 2014.

The Yankees played home run derby today as they topped the Royals in the final game of this four-game set, 10-4. Robbie Cano delivered a much needed grand slam while A-Rod and Swisher also homered for the Bombers. While the offensive fireworks were nice, Phil Hughes was the story of this game.

Yankee fans have been very, very critical of Mr. Hughes this season. Coming into this game, Hughes dropped four of his first five decisions and carried an ERA over seven. But today, Hughes gave the Bombers 6 2/3 innings of hard work. He threw 116 pitches, issuing one walk while striking out seven. More importantly, Hughes’ velocity was sitting around 95 MPH for the entire game. Hughes’ absent velocity has been a cause for concern, but today’s outing is hopefully a sign of things to come.

I don’t get too caught up over wins and losses for pitchers, but strong, quality starts are encouraging. With his next three starts coming against the Mariners, Blue Jays, and Royals, look for Hughes to build off of this one and forget about his ugly April.

After an impressive 18-win season in 2010, Phil Hughes took a mulligan in 2011.

During Spring Training last season, Hughes was unable to break 90 MPH. The Yankees placed Hughes on the DL with an undisclosed injury. After he came back, Hughes posted a pedestrian 5-5 record in only 14 starts. Hughes’ 5.79 ERA and 1.49 WHIP were unsightly, but after a rocky start to the year, the Yankees weren’t expecting much.

Going into the 2012 season, Hughes is one of the X-Factors for the Yankees. He is currently in a ‘competition’ with Freddy Garcia for the fifth stater’s job, but the job is as good as his. Cashman has coined Hughes as a ‘top of the rotation’ starter–and many fans view him that way. Top of the rotation starters don’t get put into the bullpen.

With all of the attention focused on Michael Pineda’s arm, David Robertson’s foot, and A-Rod’s knee, Hughes has flown under the Yankee radar. Not many 26-year-old pitchers with Hughes’ pedigree do. And that’s definitely not a bad thing.

I’ve been waiting for this day to come. The day when the Yankees FINALLY got the better of the self-proclaimed King Felix Hernandez. Hernandez gave up six earned runs (two HRs) on nine hits in six innings. Teix and Chris Dickerson (yes, the same Chris Dickerson that doesn’t have a John Sterling HR Call) homered off the King. Isn’t life grand, Seattle? 

With the win, the Yankee record improves to 89-57. The Yankees are four games ahead of the Red Sox in the loss column. Their magic number sits at nine. 

Atta Boy Teix--AP Photo

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Well, it only took the Yankees, Orioles, and Mother Nature seven hours to decide who would win the second game of these three game set. After an initial three-hour rain delay, these two teams engaged in seesaw affair. The Yankees would come out on top after Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli homered in the seventh. With the win, the Bombers move to 87-53 on the season. They also carry a six-game winning streak into tomorrow afternoon’s game.

As for the rest of the game, Phil Hughes got the start and performed pretty well, given the crappy conditions. Hughesy tossed six-innings of two run ball, but did not factor into the decision. Hughes needs to continually prove that he can give the Yankees quality starts each time out.

What’s Next? The Yankees will go for the three-game sweep tomorrow afternoon!

1:05 PM: Zach Britton (9-9, 4.22 ERA) vs. AJ Burnett (9-11, 5.23 ERA)

The New York Yankees defeated the Minnesota Twins tonight by a final score of 8-1. Phil Hughes dominated (more on that below) as he could suddenly be the leader in the clubhouse to start Game #2 of the ALDS for the Yankees. With the win, the Yanks move to 76-47 on the season.

AP

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The New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 9-2 this afternoon. Phil Hughes successfully got the Yankees through the first six innings with a little help from the offense, specifically Jorge Posada (see more below) With the win, the Yankees fall to 72-46 on the season.

Thank You - AP

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‘Rain, Rain, Go Away’ wasn’t uttered by too many in the visitor’s dugout tonight as the Bombers won a six-inning, rain-shortened game, 6-0. Phil Hughes threw all six innings, giving up only three hits while striking out four. His velocity stayed in the mid-90s for the entire game, which was encouraging to see. It was easily his best start of the year.

Mark launched two Teix Messages (his 30th, 31st) while Russell Martin added his 11th for good measure. The Grandy Man officially joined the 20-20 club, swiping his 20th bag of the year. A 30-30 season is not out of the question.

Fun Fact:

Mark Teixeira has hit 30 home runs in eight straight seasons! Talk about consistency and it’s only August 2nd!

If this dreary weather continues into tomorrow night, we’ll be saying ‘Rain, Rain, Go Away!’

The game, which will hopefully be played, can be seen nationally on ESPN, ok.

Wednesday, 7:10 PM: AJ Burnett (8-9, 4.23 ERA) vs. Gavin Floyd (9-9, 3.96 ERA)