Hot Stove: Should The New York Mets Pursue Phil Hughes?

Phil HughesI’m not big on making free agent predictions during the MLB Hot Stove season, but I usually have one or two guys that I like to recommend the Mets pursue. Last year, I suggested the Mets pursue Jair Jurrjens, which in hindsight looks awful now, but on a minor league deal it made sense to take a flier on him.

For a number of reasons, the Mets should consider offering Phil Hughes an one or two-year deal.

It seems like just yesterday that Hughes was a highly regarded pitching prospect for the New York Yankees. Since his debut in 2007, he has had some great performances, but his career thus far has been marred with inconsistency.

The question is, how much of this inconsistency was a result in pitching in the American League East, and a home stadium that transforms pop-flies to homeruns on a consistent basis?

A switch to the National League could be exactly what the doctor ordered for Hughes, who is still only 28 years-old, and the youngest non-international free agent pitcher available this season. agrees that the switch to the NL could benefit Hughes, and has him ranked as their No. 38 free agent available (predicted to sign with the San Diego Padres).

Hughes has been killed by the homerun ball throughout his career, but 76 of his 112 homeruns were given up in Yankee Stadium. Pitching at Citi Field would make a big difference.

Here is a quick summary of why the Mets should pursue Hughes:

  1. He’s still young—only 28 years old.
  2. Not receiving a qualifying offer, it doesn’t cost the Mets any draft picks to sign Hughes.
  3. He would benefit from pitching in a NL environment.
  4. He can be had relatively cheap—$8 million per year should get it done.
  5. He could fill a backend starter role for the Mets and potentially be flipped at the trade deadline.
  6. He has postseason experience.
  7. He has experience pitching out of the bullpen.
  8. He has experience pitching under the big city lights in New York.

At worst, Hughes would be a solid back of the end starter for the Mets—at best, a switch to the NL helps him find his All-Star form from 2010. Either way, Hughes could be low-risk and high-reward signing for the Mets in 2014.