Consistent with their stated plan to limit his workload this season, the Yankees will skip Phil Hughes in the rotation this week, according to Sweeny Murti of WFAN.
The Yankees will take advantage of scheduled off-days for Thursday and next Monday in order to push Hughes’ next start back until next Tuesday against the Mariners. Hughes was originally on track to start against the Dodgers on Friday.
The 23-year-old right-hander has been one of the best starters in the American League so far this season, exceeding all expectations by amassing 82 1/3 innings over his first 13 starts. That’s an average of 6 1/3 innings per start. Hughes is currently tied with David Price and Clay Buchholz for the American League lead with 10 wins.
As Aaron outlined last month, this plan won’t be as extreme as the way Joba Chamberlain was handled last season. According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, this is the only time Hughes will be skipped before the All-Star break. In other words, there’s no need to panic about this decision. The Yankees aren’t about to disrupt another pitcher’s rhythm, but they’ll surely look to find Hughes rest when they can.
The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.
Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.
Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.