Hughes signed a two-year contract with the Reds on Tuesday which includes a club option for 2020. According to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation, the deal is worth $4.5 million over two years with a $3 million option. After spending 2017 with the Brewers and 2016 with the Pirates, Hughes will head to his third NL Central team in as many years. He put together another respectable campaign out of the bullpen last season, compiling a 3.02 ERA across 67 appearances (59.2 innings). Look for the groundball specialist to settle into the back end of Cincinnati's bullpen, serving as one of the primary setup men for Raisel Iglesias.
The Brewers declined to tender Hughes a contract for 2018. The groundball specialist had a decent season in 2017, finishing with an ERA just above 3.00 in 67 appearances, but the Brewers simply weren't willing to pay what he'd cost in arbitration. Hughes should have little problem landing a big-league deal in free agency.
Hughes has allowed six runs on nine hits over his last six appearances (five innings). Prior to this recent stretch, Hughes had 12.1 straight scoreless innings with only four hits allowed. The 32-year-old now has a 3.74 ERA and 1.32 WHIP with 38 strikeouts over 43.1 innings this season. Hughes occasionally pitches in high-leverage situations with nine holds and one save this season, but isn't likely to see as many opportunities going forward following the Brewers' acquisition of Anthony Swarzak.
Hughes has allowed three runs and eight hits with 19 strikeouts over his last 18 innings pitched. The veteran reliever has worked his way into more high-leverage situations with the Brewers, with six of his seven holds coming in that same stretch. It's unlikely that Hughes pushes into the setup role, but his recent stretch and 2.92 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 37 innings this season should keep him on the radar for fantasy owners, especially those in deeper formats.
Hughes has a 15:10 K:BB with 25 hits and 11 runs over 21.2 innings this season. The issues that bothered the long-time Pittsburgh reliever followed him to Milwaukee this year as he continues to struggle to keep his walks in check. When he's not missing outside of the zone and walking batters, he's allowing hitters to bat .342 on balls put in play with a .482 slugging percentage. In all, the lack of control has led his ERA to jump from his 3.03 mark last season to 4.57 this year, making the right-hander a risky play for owners in all leagues.