Phil Hughes officially announced his retirement from baseball today via Twitter. Hughes last pitched in the Majors in 2018 as a member of the San Diego Padres. While his final 16 appearances came out of the Padres bullpen, the No. 23 overall pick of the 2004 draft spent most of his 12-year career split between the Yankees and Twins.
In his own words, Hughes begins his announcement by saying, “While it’s been fairly apparent to most over these last couple years, I’d like to officially announce my retirement from baseball. Through many ups and downs over 12 years, I look back and am incredibly proud of what I was able to accomplish.”
Hughes took some time finding his way, and he ultimately leaves the game as an underrated hurler. After debuting in pinstripes during the 2007 season, he became linked in many minds to Joba Chamberlain as a pair of promising arms that didn’t pan out quite as intended for the Yankees. That said, Hughes has plenty to be proud of after carving out a successful big league career.
He was prematurely crowned a future ace for the Yankees, but he nevertheless developed as a significant contributor setting up games for Mariano Rivera during New York’s 2009 title run. Hughes posted a 3.03 ERA/3.22 FIP over 86 innings that season, including nine appearances in the postseason.
Hughes would settle in as a starter during a four-year run from 2012 to 2015. His best year came in 2014, his first with the Twins in which he logged 209 2/3 frames with a 3.52 ERA/2.65 FIP and an ML-leading 11.63 K/BB rate and a 7th-place Cy Young finish. Injuries and circumstances may have altered Hughes’ ultimate trajectory, but his emergence in Minnesota became a feel-good story for as long as his health allowed.
In total, the 34-year-ol Hughes retires with 11.2 bWAR, but 17.7 fWAR, indicating his ultimate work level might have been underappreciated at the time. He spent seven seasons with the Yankees and five with the Twins, with one All-Star appearances in 2010. Congrats to Hughes on a long and successful career.