It seems to be all but a foregone conclusion that Phil Hughes will not be brought back next season, and with his spot in the rotation currently in jeopardy, why not look to trade him now?
The Yankees have a set core of starters with CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda. The other two slots are currently being filled by David Phelps and Phil Hughes. Phelps has not been dominant himself, but the 26-year-old has done his job and kept the Yankees in ball games with a 5-4 record and 4.01 era splitting time between the bullpen and the starting rotation. Hughes has had an inconsistent season, to say the least. He is just 3-6 on the year with 5.09 era.
Ivan Nova was recently recalled from AAA and pitched well in his first start since returning. Nova pitched 6.2 innings against Tampa on Sunday allowing three runs with seven strike outs. In interviews since his return, he has clearly stated he wants no part in ever returning to the minors and could be a man on a mission to stay put in the rotation.
The other factor you have to consider is the rehabbing Michael Pineda. He is scheduled to next start in AA and could be only a few games away from a promotion to the majors. Pineda showed he has the stuff to be a front of the rotation starter with Seattle and all reports have been positive from his rehab. He could prove to be a vital piece in giving the Yankees one of the stronger rotations in the division.
It would not shock me to see a rotation by next month consisting of Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettitte, Pineda and Nova with Phelps returning full-time to his role in the pen. This would make Hughes the odd man out and thus expendable.
The Yankees are in dire need of offense and should start shopping Hughes around to see if they can find a good match. I wouldn’t look to just dump Hughes, as he does have a track record of some success in his career and should be able to attract a decent return. If the Yankees are able to garner an attractive offer, especially if it is a piece that can help the offense, I wouldn’t think twice about letting Hughes go.