UPDATE: The Yankees are pushing Hughes back a day and going with Andy Pettitte instead. Which, OK, if you think a day of rest will cure everything that ails Hughes.
4:16 PM: Phil Hughes last pitched on Monday and, after accounting for the Yankees off-day, would be scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Orioles. But not so fast:
Holding him out would be the acknowledgement that Hughes simply hasn’t been getting the job done. He has failed to complete six innings in six of his ten post-All-Star break starts. Heck, five of those didn’t even go five innings. In that time he has complied a 1-6 record with a 5.05 ERA and has given up 61 hits in 51 and two-thirds innings.
The Yankees might have been closer to playoff contention if half their roster wasn’t injured for the bulk of this season. But not punting a start most times Hughes took a turn would have been helpful too.
The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.
Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.
While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.