The good news about this part of the rotation predictions is that this is essentially the fifth starter line. Unfortunately, the Twins do need to find two pitchers from the remaining group to begin the season (well maybe…more on that later).
Phil Hughes has been hurt a lot lately with quite the battle with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. He also is likely not the pitcher many of you reading want to see here. Especially following two seasons in a row where he was unable to top 60 innings, and season last year where he had a 5.87 ERA and was giving up two home runs per nine innings.
The pie in the sky here would be for Hughes to regain his 2014 form where he set a record strikeout to walk ratio. As a fifth starter, even his 2015 performance would be tolerable until a better option came forward. In 2015, Hughes pitched 155.1 innings and was able to hold down a 4.40 ERA. Nothing special, but it is at least something from a pitcher you are paying a good chunk of money to.
Because of that contract and lack of options. If Hughes shows any semblance of life, he will make the Opening Day roster. He may not stay there long if one of the younger guys behind him pushes him and proves they are ready. In all likelihood, Hughes will get at least one more chance in the rotation to prove he can still pitch.