Yankees avoid arbitration with Hughes

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

11 thoughts on “Yankees avoid arbitration with Hughes

  1. Ben

    I really hope the Yanks give Hughes an opportunity to win the No. 5 spot. I know Garcia earned it, but if Hughes gets it together this year, he answers questions for the Yanks' 2013 and years going forward as well. If Hughes' hard work that he is putting in this offseason pays off, the Yanks will have plenty of quality and depth this year.

    Throwing Hughes in the bullpen creates an abundance for the Yankees in relief options, which is good considering Mo could be retiring this year, but it is easier to fill a relief pitcher than a starting pitcher.

    In any case, the Yanks' trade makes Hughes' future less important to the team's current and long term plans, but it would be nice to give the 25 year old one more go-around, even if it relegates Garcia to spot-starter, which would be sad, and Burnett irrelevant, which every Yankee fan will sign up for.

    • It would still be helpful for the future for Hughes to develop into a decent starter, especially since he only needs to become a viable 3-4 guy now. With that in mind, I’d hope the “competition” is Hughes’ to lose, but with an abundance of options I wouldn’t weight the contest too heavily in Hughes’ favor if someone else clearly outperforms him. Especially if the secondary pitches continue to not develop. If he’s going to be a fastball-soft curveball pitcher, the bullpen will be a much better fit for him.

      • mcmastro

        If he's going to be a fastball-soft curveball pitcher, they may as well give him an $80 million dollar contract and call him A.J Burnett.

        • dezre

          I thought Hughes was more prone to throwing his breaking ball for strikes, but I may have that wrong. AJ's curve is almost always in the dirt…it's filthy when it's on (and is terrible when it ain't), but Hughes has generally showed better control with his secondary pitch. If he can get his velocity back up, that soft breaking ball becomes harder to hit. And doesn't he mix a cut fastball with a four-seamer?

          He's still so young. I'd like to see him get a 2nd full year as a starter before relegating him to the bullpen again. But he may not have that luxury.

          I hope he does well this year in either role.

      • shawn

        I can't believe I'm saying this considering the relative value of a 25 year old starter but I'm starting to feel like Hughes may be better in the pen. It really comes down to whether 2009 was a major fluke or a realistic talent level as a reliever.

        If you look at 2009, he put up 2.0 WAR as a dominant reliever with a 10SO/9 rate and 2.9BB/9 rate. His best season as a starter (2010) was 2.4 WAR but that came in 90 more innings than 2009. His SO/9 rate was around 7 and his BB/9 rate was around 3.3. In fact, if you take his entire career… he generally logs SO/9 rates between 5.7 (2011) to 7.5 except for 2009. Ditto for BB/9 which he has generally been between 3 and 4 as a starter but was sub 3 as a reliever.

        What I am not sure of is how flukish 2009 was. Looking at BAbip, 2009 wasn't particularly lucky (.280) and in fact he put up two better rates in I believe 2010 (.275) and I want to say 2007 (.272). 2011 wasn't very unlucky as he put up a rate of about .308. I think it was 2008 where he had an insane .350+.

        So it may be possible that he is a borderline starter but an exceptional reliever. It also may be possible that he really was a fat toad last year which would explain his 5.7 SO/9 rate and that improved conditioning will put him back to be a serviceable MLB starting pitcher.

  2. Brian

    at what point do the yankees consider trading him? i'd hate to see it happen away from pinstripes, but it wouldn't surprise me if he became the next ian kennedy.

    • BrienJackson

      Lord knows MLB general managers will surprise you from time to time, but I'd have to think Hughes' value is so low right now that there's no point in trading him.

  3. mcmastro

    Hughes deserves the rotation spot because of his age and potential. Thinking of a core with C.C, Nova, Pineda and Hughes for the next 5 years is something to get excited about.

  4. sam

    I'm thinking the incentives would pertain to starting feats.. not pen. Oh well, he's a much better explosive penhand than a dialed back starter.

  5. makjak2

    Hopefully the Yanks don't keep bending over backwards to keep Burnett in the rotation. At this point it makes a lot more sense to give Hughes the nod and give him a chance to develop more.

  6. Michael P

    I think the spot might really be Burnett's to lose. I think the Yankee's see value in his 190 innings pitched last year and he still has that massive contract and definitely no minor league options left. I don't see how they can get rid of that. I was hoping they would do what the Braves did and eat a large portion of it just to get rid of him but when they said they would only kick in 8 million it just made it appear they weren't serious.

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