Red Sox Add Swingman Collin McHugh

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The Red Sox have addressed some of their pitching concerns today signing right-hander Collin McHugh to a one-year deal.  The Red Sox rotation needs a shot in the arm after learning Chris Sale has a left flexor strain and will not pitch for about a week. 

Photo courtesy of bluejaynation.com
McHugh will earn $600K base salary this season according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe.  The total value of McHugh’s deal could reach a value of $4.25 million this season if incentives and bonuses are reached. 

With Sale currently dealing with that ailing elbow the Red Sox have two open rotation spots heading into the regular season.  McHugh can help fill one of those two spots, but he is also dealing with a flexor strain of his own and will not be ready for Opening Day. 

McHugh, 32, has spent the last six years with the hated Houston Astros serving in both roles of a starter and reliever.  He made 110 starts and 85 relief appearances during his time with the Astros.  McHugh in 2015 was 19-7 with a 3.89 ERA in 32 starts for the Astros.  He also finished eight in the American League Cy Young voting that season for the Astros. 

Shop for Official Game Day Gear at Fanatics!He would follow up 2015 with a 13-10 record in 2016 with a 4.34 ERA in 33 starts for Houston.  He would get nipped by the injury bug following that season and has been used more as a righty swing man.  In 2018, McHugh had a great year out of the Astros bullpen appearing in 58 games he went 6-2 and had a 1.99 ERA. 

The concern right now for McHugh is he is dealing with the same injury that Sale is experiencing right now.  McHugh recently was just cleared to start throwing after undergoing a Tenex procedure on his elbow.  Tenex is a minimally invasive procedure meant to remove scar tissue.  Red Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke said today McHugh hasn’t started throwing. 

“They’re evaluating him still, now,” said interim manager Ron Roenicke to MassLive.  “So we don’t know when that period will be, when he starts up.  He’s coming off a flexor, also.  We’re not sure when that period is when he’ll be able to pitch in games for us.”

McHugh should be able to be utilized as a starter and a reliever for the Red Sox this season.  The club has been in need of starters since the David Price trade to the Dodgers at the start of Spring Training.  “He can do both and he’s willing do both,” Roenicke said.  “We’ll get him ramped up, extend him out and then see where he fits in our staff."

Based off the fact he is coming off the procedure, the Red Sox would be wise to limit the innings for McHugh.  Utilizing McHugh in the opener games potentially as the pitcher who comes in after the reliever starts might be the better fit for McHugh as he looks to finally get back to normal. 

The Red Sox are in a tough spot right now with their starting pitching and Chaim Bloom should continue to look to add more depth for the rotation.  The free agent market is limited, and McHugh was arguably the best name remaining.  The Red Sox could look to the trade market and try and work out a deal with a team who has an influx of starting pitching. 

McHugh coming to Boston will help, but he isn’t here to fill the innings void left by Chris Sale if he misses extended time.  McHugh can help shorten the game for the club in the opener role games and the club shouldn’t over extend the reliever. 

This is low risk move for the Red Sox, and if McHugh is healthy there is major upside, but there was a reason why he was available in March.  Red Sox Nation will look at the stats and immediately expect McHugh to be what he was a few seasons ago not taking health into account.  This a perfect situation for McHugh.  The Red Sox are in need of quality arms and he will get every opportunity to be part of the Red Sox pitching staff. 

McHugh was a waiver claim by former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and he blossomed into a key piece for the Astros the last couple of seasons.  As Bloom rebuilds the Red Sox, he has taken another Tampa Bay Rays approach to acquiring a player, and while Red Sox fans have been critical of Bloom and his moves, McHugh is a good piece to add for a team in need of arms. 

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Red Sox Add Swingman Collin McHugh
Red Sox Add Swingman Collin McHugh
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