Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Good bye, Hughes

The Twins designated Phil Hughes for assignment after Monday night's game. No immediate corresponding move was announced.

It's rather startling to realize that this was Hughes' fifth season with the Twins. His first was very good. The then-front office rewarded him with a lengthy contract extension, after which came a series of surgeries and rehab that he never seemed to fully recover from. The Twins still owe him more than $22 million for this year and next.

The track record of pitchers with thoracic outlet syndrome is spotty at best. Hughes is not the first to lose the effectiveness of his fastball with the surgery, and he never at any point in his career seemed to master the art of changing speeds. He always needed to be a power pitcher, and the power just wasn't there anymore. 

Presumably Hughes will clear waivers and be released, after which somebody will pick him up as a low-cost flier. And good luck to him. His 2014 season was one of the best things to happen to the Twins in the late Gardenhire years. For that one year, he was a good as anybody in the game. But pitching is a fragile endeavor, and it is not surprising that his time with the Twins has ended.

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