Look, there is no question the Yankees have tried desperately to get Phil Hughes to be a starter and a dominant one at that. Let’s not forget, in 2010 he had 18 wins and was terrific, but in 2011, everything fell apart. Now, I am a firm believer that Phil Hughes is nothing more than a bullpen guy and it’s based on 2 incidents. The missed No-Hitter injury in 2007 (Read HERE) and the Dead arm injury (HERE.) Those 2 injuries have set this guy back and for him to build strength and get his arm and body back to 2010 all over again is not going to be easy. Yes, he can do it, but I don’t have too much faith and believe it or not, I believe the Yankees are just about done with him too. Sure Brian Cashman has gone on record the last few days and said that he views Phil Hughes as a starter, not reliever. My opinion on this is simple, he doesn’t really believe that. He’s praising Hughes as a starter to get nibbles from teams who want to dangle a designated hitter. I really believe that. Sure, Cash sees Hughes as a potential starter for the New York Yankees, this is true, but how long do we have to wait until this kid is right?
(In picture: Bill Masse)
I believe the Yankees did this to themselves and it all goes back to Bill Masse. It’s the biggest kept secret in baseball and no one is talking about it. Bill Masse is a former Yankee Minor League Manager fired by the Yankees in 2006 for comments he allegedly made regarding organizational pitch counts and how they related to then-top prospect Phil Hughes. You can get the backgroud on that story HERE. Bill Masse was let go. It seems odd that he would offer an opinion of the handling of these young pitchers and then suddenly he’s pushed out but that’s exactly what happened. Look, I’m no detective or gumshoe here, but the background about Masse are very telling. We wrote about it, read WAS BILL MASSE RIGHT ABOUT HUGHES?
So the big question is this, now that we know what we know, can Phil Hughes get back to a starter like the New York Yankees want, either for themselves or for trade bait? My opinion is it’s all going to depend on how successful Phil Hughes was with his training this winter and whether or not his velocity will be up in Spring Training. If it is and he looks good, Phil Hughes is probably here to stay. But if he looks a little off, or the training this winter wasn’t as smooth as it should have been, there is a big possibility that Phil Hughes’ days in pinstripes is coming to a rapid end. It’s sad to think about, but it may be true. Stay tuned on this one… it could get interesting.