The Padres have acquired veteran right-hander Phil Hughes from the Twins, along with cash and the 74th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, in exchange for minor-league catcher Janigson Villalobos, per a club announcement Sunday:
Hughes was designated for assignment by the Twins following Monday’s game. The 31-year-old posted a 6.75 ERA and 1.58 WHIP over seven appearances (two starts) this season, and though he was at one point a very effective starter — he received AL Cy Young votes in 2014 — he’s posted ERAs over 4.00 in every season since 2015 and has ended with ERAs in the high fives and WHIPs over 1.50 for each of the last two campaigns. He underwent thoracic outlet surgery — an operation that most of its recipients haven’t really bounced back from — in July of 2016.
The Twins will be picking up the remainder of Hughes’ salary this season and half of his salary next year, per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell. He’ll earn $13.2 million both this season and next year.
It appears likely that Hughes will join a San Diego rotation that got disastrous results from guys like Bryan Mitchell and Luis Perdomo earlier this season and is currently missing potential alternatives like Colin Rea, Joey Lucchesi, and Dinelson Lamet due to injuries. But as Cassavell tweeted Sunday, the bigger part of this deal for the Padres may be the draft pick they’ll receive. They lost a second-round pick when they signed Eric Hosmer, who received a qualifying offer from the Royals, in February, so now they’ll get back a rather early pick to offset that loss.
While every major-leaguer takes a different path to The Show, it’s safe to say that the odds are stacked against Villalobos at this point. The 21-year-old still hasn’t reached full-season ball and posted a rather pedestrian .275/.367/.388 slash line with no homers over 98 plate appearances for the rookie-level AZL Padres last year. He wasn’t listed among the Padres’ top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline.