Vladimir Guerrero has missed the past two weeks with a small fracture in his right hand and had a measly .385 slugging percentage in 83 games before the injury, so naturally the Orioles have him batting cleanup tonight in his return from the disabled list.
Obviously the Orioles aren’t overflowing with fantastic cleanup-hitting options, but using Guerrero there is just silly at this point. Not only has he been punchless this season, the 36-year-old’s struggles date back to the middle of last season as well.
Since last year’s All-Star break Guerrero has hit .278 with a .318 on-base percentage and .404 slugging percentage in 142 games, totaling just 16 homers and 25 walks in 610 trips to the plate. To put that in some context, consider that Greg Dobbs has hit .267 with a .312 on-base percentage and .409 slugging percentage for his career.
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.