Phil Hughes hasn’t drawn any interest on the trade market and with free agency right around the corner it sounds like the Yankees are just about ready to dump him from the rotation.
Hughes failed to make it out of the fifth inning yesterday against the Blue Jays, falling to 4-13 with a 4.91 ERA on the year and 2-11 with a 5.12 ERA since back-to-back victories in May.
Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger asked Joe Girardi about Hughes’ status in the rotation and the manager replied: “We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.” McCullough also writes that pitching coach Larry Rothschild “sounded weary discussing the situation” and the unsuccessful efforts he’s made to get Hughes to repeat his delivery consistently.
David Huff or Adam Warren could replace Hughes in the rotation and it’s possible that the Yankees could then shift Hughes back into the bullpen role he filled very well in 2009, but that was a long time and an awful lot of poor starts ago. It’d be pretty shocking to see the Yankees trust Hughes in high-leverage relief spots down the stretch. He’s headed to free agency with his value at an all-time low.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.