Here’s one I didn’t see coming, pretty much ever — the Pirates have placed Jared Hughes on release waivers, according to Ken Rosenthal.
Before the offseason, I argued that the Pirates should have non-tendered Hughes after a deceptively poor 2016 season in which he posted a 3.03 ERA and a 57.9% ground-ball rate but had 5.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. The Pirates tendered him anyway, and he ended up with a $2.825 million deal for 2017, a portion of which the Bucs will now have to eat after Hughes had a terrible spring. (Due to the timing of the release, the Pirates apparently owe about one-fourth of that $2.825 million, or a little under $700,000.) The move clears space for for someone who’s likely to be more capable, perhaps A.J. Schugel or Tyler Webb.
Still, let’s hear it for Hughes, who was a very useful ground-ball guy until he started struggling. His 2012 and 2014 seasons, in particular, stand out as career highlights. He was also fun to watch, with his sprints from the bullpen and the tongue-out faces he made on the mound. (He also made weird faces in almost all of his posed pictures; it’s always fun to Google Image Search Hughes.) He was also great with the press. In that respect, he’ll be missed. Here’s hoping he catches on elsewhere.