The main talking point from last night’s game, besides the obvious one of how awesome a win it was, was Joe’s decision to go to the hook quickly with Phil Hughes in the 6th inning. With 2 outs, a runner on 1st, a 1-run lead, and Hughes at only 80 pitches, Joe had seen enough and went to Boone Logan to face lefty-hitting Mitch Moreland. Moreland hit the second pitch he saw from Logan for a 2-run homer to deep center and the lead was blown, setting up the eventual 9th inning dramatics.
Personally, I think Joe made a bad call yanking Hughes and going to Logan when he did. To me it was a classic case of the matchup binder winning out over what was happening on the field, and I thought the situation on the field gave Hughes (and Joe) enough wiggle room to allow him to face Moreland and take one more shot at ending an inning that should have already been over. At the same time, I can understand why Joe made the move. Hughes had given up 2 consecutive hits on balls up in the zone, he hadn’t been all that sharp, and if Hughes gives up one more hit to blow the lead everybody is going to be killing Joe today for not going to the ‘pen. It was a lose-lose situation for him either way and unfortunately the decision he made turned out to be the wrong one.
I don’t care about the on-field results of the decision anymore though. What I’m wondering is what impact Joe’s decision last night had on the Hughes trade market. It’s been a relatively quiet one lately, no real rumors of any kind since the one about the Rockies wanting him as a reliever. The Yankees are obviously trying to move Hughes but have had a hard time finding teams willing to offer good value for him. It’s hard to push for good return value when the message being sent about your pitcher is that he’s a guy who can’t be trusted to get big outs. That’s basically what Joe said about Phil with his decision to take him out when he did. He needed to hold a lead and he didn’t think Hughes could get it done. Teams aren’t exactly lining up to give away top prospects for a pitcher like that.
Which is not to suggest that Joe should have been factoring that into his decision-making process last night at all. His job is to win games and Cash’s job is to find and make good deals. Cash has had trouble doing that so far with Hughes and with just 1 week left until the deadline he might have an even more difficult time doing it.
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