Yanks’ Deadline Strategy With Hughes Is Perfect

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

Assuming, of course, that what Joel Sherman reported in The Post yesterday Monday has some truth to it.  That’s a disclaimer that always has to come with any Sherman report, but if the team’s strategy he laid out is actually what they’re following then it might just be the smartest thing they’ve ever done with Hughes.

Basically it comes down to the Yankees not being willing to move Phil Hughes at the deadline just for the sake of moving him, which is the right approach to take.  According to Sherman, they’re looking for more than just a stopgap or some mid-level prospects in return for him.  They want a position player with some years of control left – something the future lineup could really use – and if they don’t get that they plan on keeping Hughes and making him a qualifying offer this offseason.  If a team is willing to sign him and forfeit the pick, the Yanks get another compensatory 1st round draft pick next year.  …

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Do You Hear That, Phil?

Hughes vs LAD

Do you?  You should listen to it a little closer.  That’s the sound of Michael Pineda coming.  That’s the sound of your rotation spot disappearing in about a month, and possibly a nice chunk of your upcoming free agent money with it.  Take a look around, buddy.  You’re the weak link in the rotation, and the truth is you have been since the minute Ivan got DL’d.  You’re sitting with a 5.09/4.43/4.41 split now, with just as many bad starts as good this season after another Phil Hughes 101 clinic last night- missing in the strike zone with fastballs, inconsistency with the offspeed stuff, no ability at all to put hitters away with 2 strikes.  It’s all just getting old, dude.  You’re waking up today coming off another stinker and Pineda is pitching again tonight down in Tampa.  It’s already setting up for you to be bumped.

And guess what?  This time the Yankees won’t shuffle guys around and roll out the red carpet for you in the bullpen.  …

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On Sending Hughes To The Bullpen

I’d assume most Yankee fans have similar feelings about Phil Hughes that I do. He’s an inconsistent starter that will never live up to his lofty expectations. He was supposed to be the next Roger Clemens. He was Mark Prior-good, but without the injury prone mechanics. He had a fastball as good as Jake Peavy, a curveball taught to him by Mike Mussina, and a cutter brought to you by Mariano Rivera. In the end, it wasn’t really fair to Hughes that we expected him to be a culmination of all the great pitchers he was compared to. Seven years later, we can now look back on the development of Hughes and start to see what he’s really become, something far from an ace with an elite repertoire, and more of a Frankenstein’s Monster trying to find his place in baseball.

Phil  Hughes

(AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)

Hughes again had lofty expectations in 2013. After six years of injuries, bouncing between the bullpen and rotation, and just plain inconsistency, Hughes showed some true promise in 2012.…

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Pinpointing Hughes’ Timing Problems

Phil Hughes has a handful of brilliant starts, and a handful of abysmal ones. His last shot against the Mariners was an embarrassing dud where he lasted just 0.2 innings and gave up 7 earned runs. According to Chad Jennings of LoHud, the starter looked at video this week and came to the conclusion that he was “getting on the side of the ball”, a bad habit he has when he overthrows.

I wondered if we could see any difference between his mechanics from his last start and one of his gems from earlier in the year. Below is a side-by-side comparison of his four-seam fastball.

hughesback

Both pitches are set up in the same relative location, but the pitch from May 15th clearly rises a bit more, perhaps due to “overthrowing”. Personally, from rewatching his start a few times, Hughes’ timing seemed to be the key issue. His curveballs and fastball all seemed to be missing their locations, and most of the time his hip and shoulder rotation were out of sync.…

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Lyle Overbay powers Yankees to a sweep of the Blue Jays

R.A. Dickey was good. Lyle Overbay and Phil Hughes were better. Dickey gave the Blue Jays seven innings of four hit baseball. Normally that’s enough to get your team the victory, but not when two of those hits were homers. Brennan Boesch gave the Yankees their first run with a solo shot in the second inning. That was enough to keep the Yankees in the game until the seventh inning. With Travis Hafner on base Lyle Overbay hit a home run in the seventh frame to put the Yankees ahead three to two, the eventual margin of victory.

On the other side of the ledger, Phil Hughes was solid. Hughes struck out nine over six innings. He allowed just two runs even though he scattered seven hits. Hughes wasn’t efficient. He tossed 111 pitches over that time, but that’s what happens when you strike out so many batters. It was enough to keep the Yankees in a tight game until the offence could do its thing in the next inning.…

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Game Thread: Blue Jays versus Yankees, Sunday April 28

Thank god the Blue Jays retooled in the offseason. If they hadn’t made all these improvements the Yankees may not have won each of the past three games. This afternoon the Yankees go for the sweep. They’ll have to do it against the knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Dickey hasn’t gotten off the start that many expected after his Cy Young season in 2012, but you can never predict a knuckleballer. The Yankees will counter with Phil Hughes. Hughes hasn’t been strong to start the season either. My gut tells me that both of these pitchers will show up today, but my gut tells me a lot of things. Use this as your game thread. Enjoy!

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Did Phil Pitch Inside Last Night?

Hughes 4-18

After his downright disastrous start last Saturday, I took a venture into the PITCHf/x realm on Monday and determined that, for whatever reason, Phil Hughes was not pitching inside to hitters.  He really hadn’t shown stellar command of his 4-seamer in either of his first two starts, and the fact that he was working away and missing away made it much easier for hitters to look for a certain pitch in a certain area and tee off on it.  Having done that analysis just a few days ago, I couldn’t very well sit by and let his start last night go un-analyzed.  So let’s play another round of America’s newest favorite Yankee-related game, “Did Phil Hughes Pitch Inside Last Night?”

Survey says- Sort of.  Hughes had his fastball working much better last night than in his first two starts, and he did do a better job of spreading it around the zone than he did against Baltimore.  He also had his slider working real well and he used that as his swing-and-miss pitch much more effectively.  …

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