I'm short on ideas today so I'm going back to an old standby, Mr. Phillip Hughes. It probably seems pointless to talk about Hughes in relation to the Yankees anymore. He very likely pitched himself out of contention for even a qualifying offer from them let alone a new multi-year contract offer, and his reputation as the organization's biggest developmental pitching flop would make it very difficult to bring him back with any expectations of success. The Yankee have already set their sights on a bunch of other free agent targets. Time spent considering Hughes as part of that mix would be time wasted.
Unsurprisingly, the early talk of Hughes around the rest of baseball has been minimal. Most people thought he'd end up in either San Diego or San Francisco next year, big NL ballparks that could handle his FB tendencies. But in the words of Lee Corso, not so fast, my friend! The Giants re-upped Tim Lincecum on Tuesday for 2 years and $35 mil, and on the same day Andrew Marchand reported that the Padres were not interested in pursuing Hughes, citing concerns about his past performance and his work ethic.
With teams A and B seemingly out of the picture already, there doesn't appear to be much of a market for Hughes at all right now. Once thought of as a player who could possibly go out and get a 4-5 year/$40-50 million contract with a good season in 2013, Hughes might not be looking at much more than 2-years/$15 mil at this point. The contract crowdsourcing exercise at FanGraphs currently projects him to get 2 years/$15.8 million and a lot of those estimates were made before Marchand's report came out.
If the market continues to stay this stagnant on Hughes, would that be enough for the Yankees to regain interest in him? Possibly. Hopefully not, as they already know what kind of pitcher Hughes is and bear most of the responsibility for making him what he is, but they do have 60% of their rotation to replace and they still seem like they're planning on doing it as frugally as possible. They obviously can't risk making him the qualifying offer at this point, but let's see how the next few months go before the Winter Meetings. Hughes' season-long suck may actually end up helping his chances of returning to the Yankees.