Cashman on Hughes: He’s a starter

We all know that the Yankees now have seven starters for five rotation spots, but which five they will go with has all been speculation at this point.

I think most people feel the way I do, that Freddy Garcia pitched better than A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes last year and the No. 5 spot should be his to lose. Burnett though feels like he will be in the rotation next season though and now Brian Cashman told Chad Jennings of the Journal News that he views Phil Hughes as a starter and that he has never considered him as a possible bullpen candidate.

“I think he’s a starter,” Cashman said. “I know he can pitch out of the pen, but I don’t look at him as a reliever. Never have. I know with any quality arm, whether it’s CC or A.J. or Nova or Hughes or now Pineda, you can run them out there into the pen and they’d look pretty special. But it’s not something you want to do.”

I’m not even going to get into the absurdity of where Joba Chamberlain falls within the context of that statement. With the logjam they face now he doesn’t even come close to the rotation conversation anymore.

But does Cashman’s statements really mean that he believes Phil Hughes will be in the rotation? Is this a sign that Ivan Nova‘s spot in the rotation might not be completely secure? Hard to say. More than anything it might be a statement he is making to signal possible trade partners to sort of say, ‘hey, we haven’t given up on him yet.’ It’s really hard to say.

We know that the Yankees are actively trying to dump Burnett and short of that they would be willing to deal Hughes. So perhaps they will be able to figure out a deal and all of this will figure it self out.

If they do go into spring training with all seven starters still on the roster it will certainly make for an interesting spring training competition.

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8 Responses to Cashman on Hughes: He’s a starter

  1. MikeD says:

    It's quite clear. CC to the pen!

  2. Bronx_Knight says:

    I wonder if Cashman is building up Hughes for a trade. Freddy Garcia pitched substantially better than Hughes last year, and objectively deserves to start ahead of him. Additionally, Hughes has simply pitched better out of the pen than as a starter.

    You can never have too much pitching, but it doesn't really make sense to have resigned Garcia only to relegate him to the pen.

    • Rob says:

      I think you're right big guy! While Hughes showed some promise in a few of his starts, that flash just wasn't consistant enough to trust him with a start every 5 days. Plus there's that mysterious "injury' he suffered for the majority of the season. Since it's going to be almost impossible to trade Burnet without eating a large part of his contract, I'm sure Cash is listening to anyone expressing even a remote interest in Hughes.

  3. NYYinATL says:

    This has absolutely nothing to do with Ivan Nova. This has to do with Cashman building up his players only to attempt to sell them again! Hughes obviously has more value as a starter than a middle reliever.

  4. Dan says:

    Putting Hughes in the rotation is the right move. He's only 25, he's coming off a horrible year after a good one. He has enough upside that he could start as the number 5 started and wind up as the number 2 starter. This is all contingent on him showing up at spring training in great shape and with life on his fastball, if that's not the case, then go w/ Garcia.

    • Tanned Tom says:

      The guy hasn't shown up in great shape yet, what makes you think that'll change? I say trade BOTH Hughes and Burnett. 4 years ago Hughes was untouchable, since then he's been surpassed by Chamberlain (who clearly has been the better pitcher), Kennedy (unfortunately with Arizona), and Nova. Soon he'll be passed by Warren and Phelps, then by Betances and Banuelos. We no longer need this guy, let him realize his potential somewhere else.

  5. Preston says:

    Hughes needs to stay a starter because we may need him. Put him in AAA and tell him to work on his often talked about rarely thrown change-up. If he takes the opportunity to work hard and looks good, then when the inevitable grind of 162 games forces us to need another pitcher, than call him up. If he's still the same two pitch pitcher who doesn't have the ability to maintain his velocity as a starter, then we move him to the pen for the second half. The cost of doing this is that we have to downgrade one middle relief spot for half a season. The benefit is that this might allow him to reach his potential and give us another young front end pitcher.

    • hotdog says:

      good post Preston. I'd like to see Hughes work on his mechanics and arm strength. If he stays healthy, he's bound to get his shot in 2012 even if he doesn't start out as the 5th starter.