Phil Hughes Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation Surrounding Yankees Star
Phil Hughes has been considered one of the New York Yankees' most promising pitchers since long before his Major League debut in 2007, but his potential has largely gone unfulfilled. With that in mind, Hughes' days as a Yankee may soon be numbered.
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According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Yankees are shopping both Hughes and reliever Joba Chamberlain, which means that the Yankee organization is ready to move on to a new era from a pitching perspective.
Hughes has shown flashes of brilliance and supported his status as a 2004 first-round pick at times, but he has been far too inconsistent as a starter. In fact, Hughes' best season as a Yankee came back in 2009. He spent much of that season as a reliever and racked up an 8-3 record along with 96 strikeouts in 86 innings. He was a huge part of New York's 27th World Series title that year as well.
Similar success has remained elusive for Hughes as a starter. He has never had an ERA better than 4.19 over the course of an entire season in that role, which is unacceptable for a guy who was supposed to develop into the ace of the staff.
Hughes is just 27 years of age, though, and there still appears to be some untapped potential. Hughes did make the All-Star team in 2010 after a spectacular first half, so he has it in him to pitch at an elite level. Perhaps whatever Yankee pitching coach Larry Rothschild is telling him simply isn't resonating. If that is the case, then a change of scenery could work wonders for Hughes.
Starting pitchers are at a premium at the Major League level, so the Yankees probably won't have a hard time getting rid of him if that is indeed the goal. Hughes would appeal to non-playoff teams as a reclamation project, but contending teams might also take a look at him as a back-of-the-rotation rental player since he is set to become a free agent at the end of the season.
Hughes' numbers this season are a microcosm of his entire career. While 78 strikeouts in 95 innings is a strong rate, he is only 4-8. That has a lot to do with the fact that he has allowed 101 hits. Allowing more hits than innings pitched is usually a recipe for disaster, and that has been the case for Hughes as he deserves every bit of his 4.55 ERA.
The Yanks haven't exactly had an ideal season as the roster has been ravaged by injuries, but New York's starting rotation has remained largely intact. CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte are firmly entrenched in their spots, but there are some question marks elsewhere.
David Phelps was in the starting rotation, but he appears to have been overtaken by Ivan Nova, as Phelps is now on the disabled list and Nova is coming off a complete game, three-hit, 11-strikeout performance against the Baltimore Orioles.
Another wild card has entered the mix as well with Michael Pineda completing his lengthy minor league rehab stint. Pineda was optioned to Triple-A due to the fact that there isn't currently an open spot in the Yankee rotation, but dealing Hughes would certainly make way for him.
Pineda missed all of last season due to shoulder surgery, but he was a revelation for the Seattle Mariners as a rookie in 2011. He made the All-Star team that season, and at 24 years of age, it is quite possible that the best is yet to come.
Even though Hughes has his moments on occasion, the numbers game is quickly working against him. The Yankees likely don't plan on re-signing Hughes with youngsters like Pineda and Nova emerging, so a trade could very well be in the cards before the July 31 deadline.
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