Phil Hughes Rumors

Hughes Prefers To Stay In Starting Role

MONDAY: Hughes clarified to Martino that his strong preference and intention is to remain in a starting role for many years.

THURSDAY: Phil Hughes hasn't made a relief appearance since 2011, but the Yankees right-hander told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he will be open-minded about a relief role this offseason when he hits free agency, depending on the offers. Asked if a relief role was off the table, he replied:

“No. I mean, I feel like pitching at this level is a blessing in any way. So if teams value me as a starter, that’s great. If not, and that’s their opinion, we’ll see what happens. We will see how it shakes out.”

Hughes, 27, entered play today with a 4.99 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and just a 29.2 percent ground-ball rate. Many feel that his success as a starter during the team's 2009 World Series run means he should be transferred to a bullpen role full-time. For his career, Hughes has a 1.44 ERA as a reliever and a 4.73 ERA as a starter, though that relief sample size is just 56 1/3 innings.

There's also a belief that Hughes — an extreme fly-ball pitcher — simply needs to escape the homer-friendly Yankee Stadium and move to a larger park. That's also understandable, as he's pitched to a 6.18 ERA with 16 homers in 62 2/3 home innings this season (2.3 HR/9) compared to a 3.67 ERA on the road with just six homers allowed on the road. Since moving back into the rotation full-time in 2010, Hughes has a 5.02 ERA and 5.10 FIP at Yankee Stadium. His road marks of 4.08 and 3.81 are much more respectable.


Yankees Getting Offers For Phil Hughes

2:41pm: The Braves talked to the Yankees about Hughes but it won't happen, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Sherman hears the Braves' interest was mild, anyway.

1:39pm: The Yankees are getting offers for righty Phil Hughes now, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  Hughes, 27, has a 4.58 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 1.61 HR/9, and 30.1% groundball rate in 112 innings for the Yankees this year and will be eligible for free agency after the season.  Hughes' home run problems have been much worse at Yankee Stadium, so a change of scenery leading up to free agency would be to his benefit.


AL East Notes: Lyon, Hughes, Yankees, Red Sox

As Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes, it's been 10 years since the strangest week of Brandon Lyon's life. In 2003, the then-23-year-old Lyon was dealt by the Red Sox to the Pirates as part of a pacakage for lefty Scott Sauerbeck. The Pirates decided they weren't comfortable with the state of Lyon's elbow and sent him back to the Red Sox in a trade centering around Freddy Sanchez and Jeff Suppan just nine days later. Now with the Red Sox once again, Lyon tells Britton that he hopes to be with the big league club in the near future. Here's more on the AL East…

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that as of Sunday, the Yankees had yet to receive a single trade offer for struggling right-hander Phil Hughes. That's fairly surprising, given Hughes' solid production away from Yankee Stadium (3.02 ERA in 53 2/3 innings compared to 6.02 in 58 1/3 innings at home).
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman feels that there may be more offense on its way to New York via the trade market before Wednesday's deadline, writes MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.
  • The Red Sox are no longer in the mix for Joe Nathan, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, but they're still prioritizing right-handed relief help. The Red Sox remain in contact with the Phillies about Michael Young but find the asking price for Cliff Lee too high, according to Bradford. The same goes for Jake Peavy of the White Sox.
  • Alex Speier of WEEI.com takes a look at how the Red Sox stack up in terms of starting pitching, right-handed relief and third base options.


Bowden’s Latest: Garza, Rox, Rios, Morneau, Perkins

The trade deadline is just two weeks away, and with the All-Star Game in the rear-view mirror, Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio writes that the market will pick up rapidly beginning Friday. Here are some highlights from the highly informative article penned by the former GM of the Reds, Expos and Nationals (ESPN Insider required and recommended)…

  • Bowden hears there's an 80 percent chance that Matt Garza will be traded before his next scheduled start (Monday or Tuesday of next week). The Rangers, Red Sox and Diamondbacks are still involved, He describes the D-backs as "dark horses," adding that their odds in the Garza sweepstakes would increase if they were willing to part with left-hander David Holmberg.
  • The Rockies could also be interested in Garza, but they're not clear-cut buyers right now, and the prospective cost is prohibitive to them. If they were to sell, Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle could be had. Michael Cuddyer could be moved, but only if Colorado is "blown away."
  • The White Sox have been "extremely disappointed" with offers for Alex Rios thus far. Bowden feels that offers will improve as the deadline draws closer.
  • The Justin Morneau era in Minnesota is coming to an end, and the Twins are prepared to trade the former MVP, according to Bowden. The Rays, Pirates and Yankees are said by Bowden to be possible destinations for Morneau.
  • The Cardinals, Reds, Dodgers and Braves have all inquired on Twins closer Glen Perkins and been turned away. Those four teams are all monitoring the health of Jesse Crain as well.
  • The Yankees are trying to use Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and catching prospect J.R. Murphy to acquire a bat but have had no luck thus far. None of those players figure to interest the Twins in regards to Morneau, Bowden adds, given the impending free agency of Hughes and Chamberlain and the presence of Joe Mauer behind the plate for the Twins.

Yankees Notes: Granderson, Hughes

Mariano Rivera took home MVP honors in last night's All-Star Game victory after tossing a perfect eighth inning. Manager Jim Leyland told reporters, including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, that he wanted to ensure Rivera got into the game. If the NL took the lead in the bottom of the eighth against a different pitcher, there might not have been a bottom of the ninth to pitch. Leyland also joked, "I wanted to make sure I got out of here alive." Rivera's moment was an instant classic; his teammates allowed him to take the field all alone to "Enter Sandman" as he received a standing ovation from the fans and both dugouts (video link courtesy of MLB.com). Here's more on the Yankees…

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post spoke with a prominent agent and two front office executives that said Curtis Granderson's injuries make him more likely to remain with the Yankees beyond 2013. Each said Granderson wouldn't top his $15MM annual salary on the open market, and he could accept a one-year qualifying offer (roughly $13.8MM) to re-establish value. It could also give the Yanks a shot to sign him to a four-year deal similar to Nick Swisher deal with Cleveland this offseason.
  • The Yankees haven't been able to find an acceptable return in trade discussions for Phil Hughes, who will become a free agent after this season, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes. The Dodgers were a potential fit for Hughes, but they're no longer on the hunt for a mid-rotation starter after acquiring Ricky Nolasco. The Giants and Padres probably shouldn't be considered active buyers at this point because of recent poor play, Heyman says.
  • Heyman adds that the Angels have long been interested in Hughes, nearly drafting him in 2004 before owner Arte Moreno insisted the team select Jered Weaver. However, given the Halos' current record, they don't appear to be buyers.

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.


Rosenthal On Garza, Cardinals, Ibanez, Rockies

In a video report, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal passes on some updates on developing trade situations around the league. Here are the main takeaways:

  • The Cubs have had relatively detailed talks on an extension with free-agent-to-be Matt Garza — including years and dollars — but Rosenthal says it remains much more likely that the starter will be dealt. There is a solid chance that a deal could be made before Garza's scheduled July 22 outing, says Rosenthal, with Chicago seemingly willing to accept less in return if a team is willing to eat more of the remainder of Garza's $10.25MM deal. 
  • Echoing previous reports, Rosenthal lists the Dodgers, Nationals, Red Sox, and Rangers as the teams most prominently in on Garza. He does note that there may be a few other teams who could make such a move. We've recently heard of interest from the Indians as well, though cold water has already been thrown on that idea. 
  • Rosenthal adds via Twitter that the Rangers have two scouts watching Garza pitch tonight, with the Tigers, Orioles, Pirates, and Blue Jays also scouting the game. Of course, as Rosenthal further tweets, the other clubs are more likely interested in Chicago's relievers and position players.
  • While Rosenthal says that the Cardinals would be a nice fit for a starter like Garza, he says that it remains extremely unlikely that GM John Mozeliak would part with any elite talent to make such a deal. Rosenthal says that Cards could be on the starter market, but only if the club feels it cannot rely on internal options like Chris Carpenter.
  • Meanwhile, Rosenthal says St. Louis does not feel any urgency to make a move at shortstop. While Pete Kozma is far from perfect, it would be hard to upgrade the position substantially at a non-prohibitive price.
  • One obvious trade candidate, Raul Ibanez of the Mariners, is somewhat unlikely to be dealt in spite of his cheap, expiring contract and solid performance this season. As we've heard elsewhere recently, Rosenthal says that GM Jack Zduriencik would be hesitant to deal the once-and-current Mariner without consulting with him. According to Rosenthal, Seattle is more likely to trade other veterans like reliever Oliver Perez and starter Joe Saunders.
  • The Rockies could be interested in making a deal for the YankeesPhil Hughes, but Rosenthal says that they would be looking at him as a bullpen piece rather than a starter. If the Yanks are in fact looking for a significant return for Hughes, of course, the Rockies would seem hard-pressed to get an overly attractive price on the pending free agent.
  • One other player the Rockies are looking at is starter Vance Worley of the Twins, who is currently working out his issues (with some success) at Triple-A. According to Rosenthal, Minnesota is loathe to ship off Worley at a discount because they view him as a rebound candidate and maintain team control through 2017. Worley's extended minor league stay could make him even cheaper, as he may lose his expected Super Two status and figures to earn less whenever he does reach arbitration.

NL Central: Garza, Wigginton, Cardinals, Braun

In today's column, Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. required and recommended) explains that many teams have "Zack Wheeler Syndrome" as they approach the deadline.  As he describes it, It’s the tendency of GMs to wait for a club to get desperate and overpay for a player.  That's what the Mets were able to do in 2011, when they demanded that they get a top-tier prospect in return for Carlos Beltran and wound up prying Wheeler from the Giants.  Today, one exec tells Olney that the asking price for the Cubs' Matt Garza (as well as the Yankees' Phil Hughes) is "incredibly high" because of that thinking.  Chicago knows they will at least present a qualifying offer to Garza after the season if they keep him, which will net them a compensatory draft pick if he signs elsewhere.  Anyone who wants to land Garza has to match, and probably exceed, the value of that pick.  Here's more out of the NL Central.. 

  • Ty Wigginton wound up as the low man on the totem pole with the Cardinals, writes Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  While his disappointing tenure in St. Louis ended with his release yesterday, manager Mike Matheny is an adamant supporter of the veteran and says that his career is far from done.
  • The Cardinals made reliever Mitchell Boggs available because he has struggled so far in 2013, but he could bounce back and regain his 2012 form, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post.  St. Louis shipped Boggs to the Rockies yesterday for roughly $206K in international bonus slot money.
  • The Biogenesis suspensions could make for a messy second-half of the season, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  However, despite the negative attention surrounding the Brewers' Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, and others, the game has been quite resilient through this and other PED scandals.

Yankees Aggressively Pushing Chamberlain, Hughes

The Yankees are aggressively pushing trades involving Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, an AL executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  In fact, a deal sending Chamberlain to a National League team could happen soon, though nothing is imminent on either front.

Yesterday we learned that the Phillies have expressed interest in Chamberlain as they feel out the market for Michael Young.  However, as Tim Dierkes noted yesterday, the market for the 27=year-olds is somewhat limited as they are in their walk years and not of much use to non-contenders.  In the case of the Phillies, they may see themselves as buyers with a real chance to win this year, as ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears.

Chamberlain typically wouldn't garner trade attention, but a team in need of bullpen help could bite.  The right-hander has a 5.75 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 22 relief appearances this year.  Hughes, meanwhile, has a 4.55 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 17 starts. 


Twins Notes: Buxton, Hughes, International Signings

Last night, Baseball America's JJ Cooper wrote that an NL scout told him Twins' center field prospect Byron Buxton is the best prospect he's seen in more than a decade of scouting. Buxton's hype has soared this season following a jaw-dropping start at Class A Cedar Rapids, and he's recently been promoted to Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Here's more on last year's No. 2 overall pick and the team that drafted him…

  • Baseball America's Jim Callis opines that were he in the Astros shoes in last season's draft, he'd have taken Buxton over Correa, still gone over-slot on Lance McCullers Jr., and neglected to give fourth-rounder Rio Ruiz his over-slot deal. Callis adds that he likes Correa very much, but preferred Buxton and wasn't high on Ruiz (Twitterlinks).
  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports that the Twins are expected to pursue Phil Hughes as a free agent this offseason (Twitter link). The Twins have struggled tremendously in the pitching deparment over the past few years, and Hughes has been a better pitcher away from Yankee Stadium throughout his career.
  • Wolfson also spoke with vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff regarding the upcoming international free agency period. Radcliff expects to sign eight to 10 international free agents and cited the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Italy as areas of focus. The Twins, who have the fourth-largest bonus pool, have been approached by the Rangers about trading some of their funds from that pool, but the team won't do it this week at least (Twitterlinks).
  • Radcliff also told Wolfson (link) that there's "nothing imminent" on the trade front for the Twins.  However, he and the other pro scouts are diligently watching players that they may add at the deadline.  

Zach Links contributed to this post.


Rosenthal’s Latest: M’s, Yanks, Roenicke, Rays, Cubs

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a lengthy new article discussing All-Stars, some of the game's top young hitters and a plethora of hot stove info. Here are some highlights…

  • Rival executives around the league are critical of the Mariners for rushing their top prospects, but Rosenthal notes that Nick Franklin has been more than up to the challenge, and Brad Miller earned his promotion with his minor league performance. Regarding the struggling Mike Zunino, GM Jack Zduriencik told Rosenthal: "We planned all along to get Mike to Seattle at some point in July … He wasn't expected to be a big contributor offensively if it was now, July, September … but he has held his own, and what he is receiving now will set him up for 2014 and beyond."
  • Multiple scouts have questioned the work ethic of the Brewers' players, with one telling Rosenthal "there's a lot of quit on that team." Rosenthal writes that it isn't manager Ron Roenicke's fault that Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez have been injured, but the negative reports could be an "ominous sign" for Roenicke. Rosenthal tweets a correction, noting that Roenicke is signed through 2014, not through 2013 as he initially reported.
  • The Yankees aren't planning a fire sale, but if they did, they'd have some of the most attractive trade chips in the game. The Yankees could part with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, however, and Rosenthal adds Curtis Granderson's name to the mix, assuming the injured outfielder gets healthy in time.
  • The Rays aren't looking to add a starting pitcher with both David Price and Alex Cobb likely to return in the near future. If the Rays make any moves at all, they'll be for impact players regardless of position.
  • The Cubs are "all but certain" to trade pending free agents Matt Garza, Kevin Gregg and Scott Feldman, but they're not in a rush to deal Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus, both of whom are controlled beyond 2013.