Last week the Yankees sounded ready to dump Phil Hughes from the rotation following another poor start and sure enough the team announced that he’s been moved to the bullpen.
Initially the plan was to bump Hughes’ next scheduled start back, but manager Joe Girardi has decided to replace him in the rotation with David Huff, explaining to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York: “It’s been [an] up-and-down year for Phil and Huff’s been throwing the ball well, and we are just going to make the change.”
Hughes has certainly earned the demotion by going 4-13 with a 4.86 ERA and 23 homers allowed in 26 starts and despite all the promise he once showed as a prospect he’s now 27 years old with a 4.72 career ERA as a starter. This season the Yankees are 10-16 when Hughes starts and 64-48 when he doesn’t.
Hughes has been very effective out of the bullpen in the past, but hasn’t been a reliever since 2009 and with free agency right around the corner the timing of the move is rough for him.
In March, Major League Baseball agreed to pay minor league players $400 per week while the sport is shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. That provision is set to expire at the end of May. As Craig noted earlier, the Athletics will not be paying their minor leaguers starting on June 1.
Several teams are doing the right thing, continuing to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week through at least the end of June. Per The Athletic’s Levi Weaver and James Fegan, the Rangers and White Sox will each tack on another month of pay. The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reported earlier that the Padres will pay their players through the end of August. Craig also cited a Baseball America report from this morning, which mentioned that the Marlins will also pay their players through the end of August.
Frankly, if the Marlins can find a way to continue paying their minor league players, then every team should be able to do the same. The Marlins are widely believed to be the least profitable among the 30 major league clubs. Here’s hoping the rest of the league follows the Rangers’, White Sox’s, Padres’, and Marlins’ lead as opposed to the Athletics’.