Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yankeetorial: It's time for the Yankees to ask that essential philosophical question: What could we get for Phil Hughes?

Have you noticed that looming funnel of dark clouds on the western horizon - the one with the cow swirling around, next to the green-skinned lady on the bicycle? That's the MLB trade deadline. It's headed our way. And this year, the Yankees face a unique situation - for the Yankees anyway: Because of all our injuries, we have too many players. And a couple might interest other teams.

Of course, nobody's going to give much for a guy we pulled off the scrap heap, and the jewels of our farm system are not having shiny years, so their value is low. But everybody needs pitching, and it's not hard to imagine several teams coveting a guy whose Yankee days are probably numbered anyway.

Phil Hughes is that unfortunate fellow: the fly-ball pitcher in a home run bandbox. Put him in a airport-sized park, like LA or Seattle - a place where fans can't toss shelled peanuts on him from the right field seats -and Hughes might flourish. As he is a free agent next winter, we get less in return - or maybe a corresponding four month rental. With creative financing and maybe a throw-in, Cashman might finagle a package that brings somebody decent (in context.) Also... right now, Hughes looks expendable.

For starters, Chien-Ming Wang - the current IL Pitcher of the Week - is throwing well in Scranton. He's not the old Wang - we know that - but he might be the current Hughes. He's on a month to month contract, so we use him or lose him. Frankly, we owe him a shot. It's that simple. We. Owe. Him. I'd hate to see Boston or Baltimore sign him, after we invested a half-summer bringing him back to form. If Wang keeps getting hitters out, he deserves a crack at NYC.

Then there is Vidal Nuno, who has given us two Kuroda-level starts. At times, you sense a clock ticking here  in an Edwar Ramirez sort of way. But if we're talking about a half year - maybe 15 starts - why not take a flier on Nuno? And there is also Ivan Nova, though Yankee fans may be as weary about him as we are with Hughes. So - three guys...  any one able to do what Hughes does... which is basically pitch well one day and get slaughtered the next. Screw that.

So... if we package Hughes... what can we get?

1. Prospects. They're always out there. Maybe this is the year we dump a player in return for a future hope. Not saying this is the exciting option, but if some NL teams are bidding for Hughes, they might cough up somebody worth having.

2. A hitting catcher. The results are in: The 2013 Yankees are challenged offensively.  Is there a lugnut catcher out there, maybe with 15-20 HR power? 

3. An outfielder. One of these days, either the Ichiro and/or Wells experiment will end. They either start hitting or it's over. Seeing Lyle Overbay in right was one of seven warning signs of cancer. Ben Francisco didn't work. Grandy will return, but as what? Not sure if there is an OF somewhere with a Swisher-like half-season in him. Jayson Werth?

4. A shortstop. Eduardo Nunez will return, and then Jeter - but nobody knows whether either can play SS every day. Nunez never answered that question, and Jeter will have to take it really slow. If there was a solid veteran out there, a Marco Scutero type...

5. Relief pitching. Always a need. We have no lights out LOOGY. (Boone Logan is more an innings eater.) Hughes for a lefty? Or would we be better served moving him to the bullpen? It worked in 2009. We no longer need to worry about his future development. We are no longer grooming Hughes for a Yankee future.

The winds are blowing, and puzzle pieces are becoming airborne. Right now, with or without the wave of returning veterans, the Yankees look like a team that finishes five games out. It's getting time for Cashman to use what he's got. From here, it looks like Phil Hughes might bring the most and cost the least.


John M said...

I'm reading about the wonder of the return of the Bombers--powered by Juju--and there, buried in the 'Game Notes' at the very, very end, is one of the most awaited sentences in the history of sport:

"The Yankees released OF Ben Francisco."

Oh, frabjous day, calloo, callay!

When you say we could use another outfielder, I think you might need to be more specific. There has to be a level beyond which we do not go.

Anonymous said...

The chance for CMW to start in Yankees big league is still slim. But if you do not need him, let someone else have it when asked.

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to Clay Rapada or Cesar Cabral?

Charlie Finley said...

Phil Hughes, Reid Brignac, Joe Girardi, and 7 unused Ben Francisco autographed bats to the Dodgers, for Don Mattingly and two tickets to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland.