15 May 2009
There is a lot of chatter in the New York papers today about how Phil Hughes had better pitch well tonight or he will be back in the minors soon. The thinking is that with Chien-Ming Wang almost ready, Hughes has to show the Yankees something to stick in the rotation.
But where is the spot in the rotation that Hughes can hold onto? Even if he pitches a gem tonight, the Yankees are going to pick Wang over him. Hughes isn’t going to bump any of the other starters out of the rotation either. And you can pretty much forget about the bullpen, Hughes is a starter and he will go back to AAA as a starter when Wang returns.
What Hughes is really pitching for is 2010. We know the 2010 rotation will have Sabathia, Burnett and Wang in it. We can be 95% certain it will have Joba in it. What we don’t know is if it will have Pettitte in it. The Yankees could choose to give him another one year deal or they could decide that Hughes is ready to be a starter in the bigs. I imagine they would rather go with Hughes, but that will be impossible unless he shows some success in the majors soon.