We talked relics in the last post. An autograph is kind of like a relic too, but it’s way higher up the list, at least if it’s obtained in person. And the circumstances around getting that autograph matter too. If you pay a bunch of money to have some flunky take your baseball card from you, hand it to Former All-Star Player, sitting 10 feet away, it gets signed and is given back to you, well, not so special.
If, however, you’ve spent the past 70 years of your life worshiping baseball and then travel from Venezuela to Chicago for the specific purpose of meeting Omar Vizquel, who then shares some warm words with you while he’s on the diamond getting ready for the game, well, that’s a way more special relic.
Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.
Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.
Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.
Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.