Phil Hughes has had a fantastic season for the Twins, potentially setting the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio record, and entered his final start today needing to throw 8.1 innings to reach 210 for the year and trigger a $500,000 bonus in his contract.
Hughes has cruised through eight innings against the Diamondbacks, allowing just one run, but now it’s raining heavy in Minnesota and the tarp is on at Target Field.
Hughes needs one more out to get an extra $500,000.
Hopefully the Twins either give him a one-out relief appearance over the weekend and just hand him the $500,000 bonus either way. According to Fan Graphs he’s been worth more than $30 million to the team this season based on his performance.
UPDATE: After an hour-plus rain delay Hughes did not come back into the game, which means he’s officially one out short of reaching 210 innings for his $500,000 bonus.
UPDATE #2: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire says Hughes won’t pitch again, so he’ll finish short of the 210-inning mark. Hughes says he was “very aware” of the bonus, but “some things aren’t meant to be.”
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.