Shunned during his final days in the Bronx, Phil Hughes now hopes for a fresh start in the Midwest. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported late Saturday night that the former Yankee has agreed to a three-year, $24-million deal with the Twins.
Hughes, 27, was a first-round pick (23rd overall) of the Yankees in the 2004 draft and figured to be a pillar of the rotation well into the future. But those expectations dwindled, thanks in part to injury, and another disappointing season in 2013 -- he went 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA in 29 starts and one relief appearance -- pretty much guaranteed he would not be back at any price.
The Yankees didn't extend Hughes the qualifying offer of $14.1 million, fearful of the slim chance he might grab it, so they won't receive any draft-pick compensation for his departure.
Hughes played a critical role in the Yankees' 2009 championship run with a 3.03 ERA in 51 games -- only seven starts -- and 96 strikeouts in 86 innings. In 2010, Hughes, who switched to the rotation, went 18-8 with a 4.19 ERA in 29 starts and two relief appearances.
Hughes made only 17 starts in 2011 because of shoulder inflammation, and as a fly-ball pitcher, he grew increasingly uncomfortable at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. He served up 22 of his 35 homers in the Bronx in 2012, then allowed 17 in 781/3 innings at the Stadium in 2013. He should fare much better at the more spacious Target Field.
Joe Girardi made no effort to hide his exasperation with Hughes during the second half of the 2013 season and even pulled him from the rotation in early September.