Former New York Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes is headed to the Minnesota Twins after signing a three-year, $24 million deal, reports La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Hughes showed promise throughout his seven seasons in the Bronx. He was never able to take his game to the next level, however. With the Yankees sporting rotation depth, it seemed like it was best for both sides to find a new situation. 

The best word to describe the 27-year-old starter, at least through the early portion of his career, is average. His career ERA is hovering around 4.50 and his FIP is similar, showing he hasn’t been a victim of bad luck or other factors beyond his control.

It simply comes down to Hughes being unable to further develop his repertoire, which is necessary for him to transition from the back end of a rotation to the front. The Yankees gave him ample opportunities in recent years.

The deal doesn’t come as a major surprise. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN noted that Hughes was among the Twins’ likely targets, even after they already acquired Ricky Nolasco. They needed to make some changes in order to make a serious run toward the division title or a wild-card berth at the very least.

But it’s not to say adding Hughes is suddenly going to revitalize the entire team. When you combine his mediocre results with the fact that Minnesota needed bodies as much as actual rotation help, Hughes’ signing starts to make sense. He finished 4-14 this past season with a 5.19 ERA, the second time in three seasons he’s gone above the 5.00 mark. 

Still, there’s no reason Hughes can’t eventually take that next step with his new club. Perhaps a new coaching staff will be able to get him over that hump to transform the right-hander from an average starter to a very valuable piece of the rotation.

All told, Hughes’ signs of progress were too often offset by poor stretches during his time with the Yankees. New York got the most it could out of Hughes, and it’s hard to fault their choice to move on.

Landing in Minnesota is probably the best for all parties involved. 


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