Former Astros pitcher Collin McHugh has signed with the Red Sox.
Many Astros fans, including a few of us here at CTH, had been holding out hope that the club would re-sign free agent veteran Collin McHugh, who spent the last six seasons in Houston. But those hopes were dashed as the Red Sox announced on Thursday that they have signed McHugh.
It’s a one-year deal between McHugh and Boston, with just a $600,000 base salary, but an additional $3.625 million available in incentives. The right-hander underwent a non-surgical procedure on his elbow in the offseason and was only recently cleared to begin throwing, so it’s unlikely he’ll be ready for the start of the season.
But truthfully, this is an excellent situation for the 32-year-old to step into. The Red Sox have myriad needs on their pitching staff, both in the rotation and the bullpen. Departures, injuries and luxury tax concerns have depleted their depth, so McHugh will have every opportunity to be a key piece of that pitching staff once he’s healthy and ready to go.
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What I fail to understand is how and why the Astros let him leave. They don’t have the same issues the Red Sox have, but having the well-liked veteran on their pitching staff would only have helped. He’d provide additional depth and could pitch either as a starter or reliever. On a one-year, incentive-laden deal, there would be virtually no risk.
But unfortunately, the front office evidently decided to move on. This concludes an excellent six-year run with the Astros in which McHugh went 58-35 with a 3.63 ERA. He finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2014, won 19 games and garnered Top-10 Cy Young consideration in 2015, and dominated to the tune of a 1.99 ERA as a reliever in 2018.
What’s even more remarkable is he was simply a waiver claim by former GM Jeff Luhnow. McHugh was one of those diamonds in the rough that Luhnow managed to find and watch blossom into a key player. It’s true that his final season with the Astros was derailed by injuries, but that doesn’t take away how important he was to this team for several of its best seasons.
Beyond that, McHugh and his wife Ashley were wonderful presences off the field and in the community, and here’s hoping they’ll be able to stay connected to Houston in that capacity, at least. We at CTH wish them the best as McHugh looks to set himself up for a nice payday next winter.