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Yankees may let free agent Phil Hughes walk

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Once the No. 4 prospect in all of baseball, Phil Hughes may not even be given a qualifying offer by the Yankees in the offseason.

Jim Rogash

Once one of the promising young pitchers in baseball, Phil Hughes may not even be offered a qualifying offer from the New York Yankees when he becomes a free agent in the upcoming offseason, reports the Star-Ledger.

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A qualifying offer would allow the Yankees to receive compensation for Hughes if he were to sign with another team in the offseason. However, if Hughes were to accept the qualifying offer, he would remain a Yankee and would be paid the average of the top 125 salaried players in baseball from the previous year. Last offseason, a player who accepted a qualifying offer would have earned $13.3 million, a figure that's expected to rise this winter.

For a struggling pitcher like Hughes, a qualifying offer is a risky venture for a team. They may be forced to pay a large sum of money for a player they do not want, one they mostly want the compensation for.

A first-round draft pick out of high school, Hughes reached the majors when he was just 21 years old. He has had a mixed bag of results, but overall has not lived up to expectations. His best season came in 2009, when he spent most of the year pitching in relief.

The Yankees moved Hughes, 27, to the bullpen on Tuesday after he had spent all of 2013 in the team's starting rotation. In 26 starts, Hughes had posted a 4.86 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. Once ranked the No. 4 prospect nationwide by Baseball America, Hughes has a career 4.48 ERA over parts of seven seasons in New York.

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