The Yankees to pay $29 million in luxury tax

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Yankees luxury tax bill for this year is going to be $29 million. Which is more than the Astros’ entire payroll. Which is special.

You can read his whole store for the politics and mechanics of the luxury tax. But the takeaway here is that, for as much grief as the Yankees are taking for wanting to get their payroll under $189 million next year, thereby avoiding the luxury tax, the economic incentive for them to do so is really freakin’ compelling. They’re paying a 50% tax rate every year they go over the luxury tax threshold now. Just one year beneath it and it resets to 17.5%.

That might make next year pretty ugly. But it’ll make the years beyond that a bit easier for Brian Cashman.

Twins designate Phil Hughes for assignment

AP Photo/Ron Schwane
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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.