For the second time this off-season the Pittsburgh Pirates are rumored to be interested in a former player
General manager Neal Huntington and the Pittsburgh Pirates could use bullpen help this off-season. And, according to a report from DK Pittsburgh Sports, one reliever the Pirates are interested in is Jared Hughes who pitched for the Pirates from 2011 through 2016.
After spending the first six years of his Major League career in Pittsburgh, Jared Hughes was released by the Pirates last March. This led to him signing with the Milwaukee Brewers. After posting a 3.02 ERA, 3.93 FIP, and averaging 7.24 K/9 and 3.62 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings pitched for the Brewers last season, Hughes was non-tendered last week becoming a free agent.
The first five years of his career Jared Hughes was a key member of the Pirate bullpen. In these five seasons Hughes averaged 5.58 K/9, 2.88 BB/9, 0.61 HR/9, and generated groundballs at a scorching 61.7 percent rate. This led to Hughes owning a 2.77 ERA and a 3.95 FIP in 250 innings pitched.
However, in 2016 Hughes came unglued. In 59 1/3 innings pitched he allowed a career-high seven home runs, he hit five batters, his walk rate spiked to 3.34 BB/9, and his groundball rate dropped to 57.9 percent. This led to Hughes owning a 4.68 FIP in 2016, and his 4.73 xFIP indicate even poorer results were on the horizon.
After being awful in Spring Training last season, Hughes was then released.
A reunion with Jared Hughes would be an odd move for the Pirates. While the team could use bullpen help, they primarily need left-handed bullpen help. Hughes, of course, is a right-handed pitcher.
Furthermore, the Pirates would be better served to see what younger pitcher such as Dovydas Neverauskas or Edgar Santana can do when given an extended opportunity than re-signing Hughes. Not only do these younger pitchers have better pure stuff than Hughes, their careers are also currently trending in the opposite direction of Hughes’ career.
Jared Hughes joins Neil Walker as ex-Pirate players the team has now been linked to in free agency this season. While adding Walker as a platoon player to split time on the infield with David Freese makes sense, adding Hughes back to the fold does not. Hopefully, this is a move that does not come to fruition.