It looks like the Phil Hughes era has officially come to an end in Twins Territory.
After tonight’s 4-3 win over the Tigers, the Twins announced that they designated starter-turned-reliever Phil Hughes for assignment. It wasn’t the kind of DFAing where Hughes could potentially go hide out in the minors for awhile, either; it was the kinda of DFAing where the Twins will just release him if he’s not claimed or traded for — and no one is going to claim or trade for Phil Hughes.
Over 12.0 innings pitched in the majors this year, Hughes posted a 6.75 ERA with five walks, eight strikeouts, and four home runs. It seemed like the Twins were just trying to squeeze anything out of Hughes while they still could, considered they still owe him about $22.5 million through the end of 2019. Hughes has been battling thoracic outlet syndrome in his pitching arm for the past couple years, which led to him having multiple surgeries to remove one of his ribs. That was supposed to help Hughes’s arm, but it didn’t seem to work.
Hughes did have one good year for the Twins back in 2014, his first year with the team. Hughes had a 3.52 ERA over 209.2 innings that year, including a major league leading 0.7 walks per nine innings and 11.63 SO/BB. Get this: Hughes only allowed 16 home runs all year that season, which is insane to think about considering he acts like he’s pitching in the home run derby these days. That strong 2014 showing prompted the Twins to give Hughes a big ol’ expensive contract extension. Kinda wish they hadn’t done that.
I feel bad for Hughes, who seems to be a likable guy, but the writing was kind of on the wall. Especially with Trevor May and Ervin Santana returning soon, there just isn’t any extra space on the roster for Hughes anymore.
The Twins will make a corresponding move to fill Hughes’s spot on the roster on Tuesday.
Hughes had this to say to fans on Twitter:
Baseball can be a harsh and humbling game. Respect to the Twins organization and fans for always treating me so incredibly well. Will miss you guys ❤️— Phil Hughes (@PJHughes45) May 22, 2018