Acquired earlier in the season in a swap that netted the Friars an extra draft choice, Hughes struggled quite a bit during his brief time in San Diego. In 16 appearances, the former starter allowed 14 earned runs on thirty base hits — including seven long balls.
Hughes did manage 24 strikeouts against just five walks in his 20 2/3 innings with the Pads, but he has missed bats less than he has missed barrels when opposing hitters have made contact. On the season as a whole, the 32-year-old is allowing a whopping 54.1% hard-hit rate. Indeed, Statcast even suggests Hughes has been fortunate, charging him with a .454 xwOBA-against that dwarfs the (already-hefty) .404 wOBA figure that batters have actually produced.
Needless to say, a run of recent injuries has taken quite a toll on a pitcher who had reemerged with the Twins after ending his tenure with the Yankees. Under the terms of the agreement that brought Hughes to the Padres, the organization is responsible for $7.25MM of the remaining salary owed to the righty under his extension with the Twins. The Minnesota org is still on the hook for a chunk of the $13.2MM he’s playing for this year and the balance of the same amount for 2019. While the Twins’ obligations are fixed, the Padres can still save some cash (albeit only a pro-rated portion of the league minimum salary) if Hughes ends up pitching for another club.
Nix was also a high-school star in California, but he’s ten years Hughes’s junior. He famously saw a deal with the Astros torn up when they failed to sign 1-1 pick Brady Aiken back in 2014, though he reached a settlement with Houston and ended up back in the draft in the ensuing winter. Nix went to the Padres in the third round.
Now in his third full season as a professional, Nix has taken a step forward in the results department. Though he has been limited to ten starts in the upper minors this year due to injury, his most recent outing was his first at the Triple-A level. Through 58 2/3 innings in 2018, Nix has allowed just 39 base hits and owns a sparkling 1.84 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9.