After this season, the Yankees have a decision to make in terms of Phil Hughes, the guy once designated for pinstripe greatness and ace-type status.  Hughes' contract (third year, arbitration eligible, one-year, $7.15 million) is up this year.  Here are the three options for the Yanks as far as Hughes goes after 2013:

  1. Let him walk.  Hughes will get paid somewhere and probably a lot of money just because the premium on pitching is so needed and high.  Hughes as a back-end guy in the National League for the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Cubs or Marlins would be a great fit for him and a chance to revitalize his career without the fishbowl that is New York City.
  2. Sign him and start him deep in the rotation.  Hughes will never be a #1, #2 or #3 guy.  He might not be a #4 either.  The Yanks could sign him and put him at #5 and pray every fifth day that he gives the team a chance to win.
  3. Sign him and make Hughes a reliever.  Remember 2009?  Hughes was Mariano Rivera's set-up guy by accident and the Yanks flourished.  There was less pressure on Hughes, he seemed to like the role and his fastball never lost pop.  Maybe the Yanks try and rediscover that.
The verdict:  In the end, the Yanks should let him walk.  Hughes isn't worth the headache or $50-$60 million over four years which he will likely command.  Time to move on with another pitching prospect who never worked out in pinstripes.

By:  Mike Lindsley, "Mid-Day with Mike," 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio.  Follow him on Twitter @MikeLSports.