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Monday, February 18, 2013

PHIL HUGHES MUST BE ON IN 2013

There is no question in my mind that if Phil Hughes doesn’t have the season the Yankees have been banking on for the past 6 years, he’s done as a Yankee after this season.  Not only does Hughes have to show Yankeeland that he truly is the Yankees "Golden Boy", he’s got to dominate… that’s it.

I have always rooted for this kid ever since players like Jorge Posada and Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez compared his stuff to Roger Clemens back in the day, read HERE.  I jumped right on board with that, looking for his stuff to "wow" me and during some of those outings, I saw glimpses of it, but it never blew me out of the water.

When he got hurt during his no-hitter in Texas read HERE, I was finally feeling it.  That night, I watched Phil battle and he looked amazing.  I remember thinking, “this is what the Yankees have been talking about.” Then, he got hurt and I never felt like he truly went back to that form.

Look, every pitcher struggles at times, and no doubt Phil has had a handful of struggles, but in 2009, when he worked out of the bullpen, he started to gain that command and confidence again.  It was great for him.  What the big worry was though, was could he be a starter again?  In 2010, he won 18 games and handled everyone he faced pretty well.  It was clear to me that finally after all these years, the kid was on his way. 2011 was embarrassing and sure, you need to just chalk it up as a bad year and nothing more, but now, here we are in 2013 and this is it for Phil Hughes.  He either needs to win 18 games again, or , I fear that at the end of 2013, it could be the end of the road for the once highly touted Yankee "Golden Boy."

Phil Hughes knows how important his stuff will need to be this year.  It’s simpler to write about than to do of course, but if he just builds his confidence early, hits his spots and gets back to that old form that made Yankeeland chatter about him years ago, there is no doubt he can do it.  To tell you the truth, I choose someone like Hughes over Ivan Nova, and I know I’m in the minority here, but the reality is,  there were glimpses... big glimpses... and the Yankees have a lot riding on this Hughes kid.  At the end of the day, I not only see Phil winning 18 games, but perhaps even 20 and finally get to the point of stardom, not satisfactory.  Then, if he does do well, the Yankees can either resign him or Hughes will go find a big deal and big money somewhere else, but at least if he does well in 2013, it will be a win, win for both parties and everyone can walk into the sunset smiling... both the Yankees for finally getting back on their "Golden Boy" and Phil Hughes... for finally making it.

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