COMMENTARY | Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted on Wednesday that an American League executive said that the New York Yankees are "aggressively" pushing both Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain - two pitchers once projected as key pieces of the team's future - and may find a trading partner (or partners) in the National League.
The news isn't that surprising, as both have been mentioned in trade talks for weeks, although as the July 31 trade deadline nears, it seems more likely that one or both may have seen their last days in pinstripes.
With both pitchers set to be free agents and not exactly putting up stellar numbers this season, the Yankees aren't likely to land much more than a mid-level prospect for either hurler. However, something - anything better than a bucket of balls, really - is better than nothing, especially when it frees up roster space for the Yankees to possibly promote catcher J.R. Murphy or outfielder Slade Heathcott.
As I've previously written, when Michael Pineda returns from the disabled list, the right-hander should take Hughes' spot in the starting rotation. Hughes, as I've also pointed out, is a fly-ball pitcher who plays half his games in a homer-friendly ballpark. Since the Yankees moved to the new Yankee Stadium in 2009, he's given up 63 long balls in 325 innings at home -- about one every 5 innings. Over the same period, he's given up only 29 home runs in 298 innings outside the Bronx - about one every 10 innings.
Under the right circumstances, Hughes could flourish as a front-end starter on an above-average National League team, also known as the A.J. Burnett Conundrum. Possible landing spots include the San Francisco Giants.
As for Chamberlain, the Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Atlanta Braves are reportedly interested in the reliever. Mark Feinsand of The New York Daily News has written that the Phillies might be willing to park ways with Michael Young or Carlos Ruiz. George King of the New York Post reports that both the Braves and Giants have sent scouts to watch Chamberlain. There's also case to be made that the big reliever, as I've pointed out, could be a good fit for the Detroit Tigers, a team loaded with outfielders, a position that Yankees are looking to fill.
Howard Z. Unger is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. For the past 15 years, he has written about sports, media, and popular culture. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, New York Post, and New York Times.
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Yankees
- Joba Chamberlain
- Phil Hughes