Phil Hughes is thriving in Minnesota (and away from New York)

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Once upon a time Phil Hughes was the best pitching prospect in baseball, but his Yankees career came to a disappointing end last season as he went 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA in 146 innings before hitting the open market as a free agent.

Minnesota signed Hughes to a three-year, $24 million contract anyway, believing that getting out of New York would help him rediscover the potential he once had as a prospect. And so far at least it’s gone exactly according to plan for the Twins.

Hughes tossed seven shutout innings against the Padres last night to improve to 5-1 with a 3.15 ERA, including a fantastic 47/6 K/BB ratio in 54 innings. That strikeout rate of 7.8 per nine innings is right around Hughes’ career mark of 7.6, but the walk rate is totally uncharacteristic.

Last season Hughes walked 2.6 batters per nine innings and his career walk rate is 2.7 per nine innings. This year he’s walked 1.0 per nine innings and Hughes is currently on a streak of 147 consecutive batters without issuing a walk. That includes five straight zero-walk starts, during which time Hughes is 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA and 27/0 K/BB ratio in 33 innings.

It’s early still, but so far $24 million for three seasons is looking like one of the offseason’s best investments.

Brandon McCarthy to retire after the season

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Braves pitcher Brandon McCarthy said he will retire at the end of the 2018 season, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. McCarthy has been on the disabled list since June 25 due to tendinitis in his right knee. He is hoping to contribute out of the bullpen down the stretch.

McCarthy said, “I’m done after this. This is it. The offseason is the rest of my life. If I was going to keep playing, a month and a half ago I would have had the surgery that cleans the [knee] and I’d be back next year just a little bit after spring [training].”

In 15 starts this season, McCarthy posted a 4.92 ERA with a 65/21 K/BB ratio in 78 2/3 innings. He would be eligible for free agency after the season. The Braves acquired McCarthy along with Charlie Culberson, Scott Kazmir, and Adrian Gonzalez from the Dodgers in December in exchange for Matt Kemp.

McCarthy has spent parts of 13 seasons in the majors with the White Sox, Rangers, Athletics, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Dodgers, and Braves. Altogether, he has won 69 games with a 4.20 ERA across 1,223 2/3 innings. Nice.