Houston Astros: Collin McHugh reunion needs to happen
The Houston Astros need to reunite with old friend Collin McHugh.
As we get closer and closer to Spring Training, teams’ offseason maneuverings are starting to wrap up. The Houston Astros have made some solid additions, but there is still room for a few more. One thing they ought to do is bring Collin McHugh back as some much needed pitching depth.
McHugh is a familiar face to Houston fans and would be a welcome presence on the team. The Astros have a solid rotation set up with Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers, Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier, but there’s not much depth behind them. They have a deeper crop of relievers, but even then, you can never have enough pitching.
McHugh has excelled in both roles for the Astros in the past, pitching to a 58-35 record with a 3.63 ERA from 2014-2019, making 110 starts and 85 relief appearances. He won 19 games as a starter in 2015 and also worked to a 1.99 ERA out of the bullpen in 2018. On a team flush with young arms, having a versatile veteran in the mix is always a good thing.
Not Much Risk
After hitting free agency last winter, McHugh signed with the Red Sox but did not pitch in 2020, instead opting out when his elbow was not progressing sufficiently after surgery. But he recently got a clean bill of health and threw for teams last month in an effort to show he can contribute this year.
At 33 years of age and coming off a lost season, it won’t cost much to sign McHugh. He took an incentive-laden one-year deal with Boston last year, so that’s certainly all it would take this time around. With that being the case, it would make perfect sense for the Astros to bring him to Spring Training and see how he fares.
With Austin Pruitt and Josh James likely not ready for the start of the season, McHugh could break camp as the team’s long reliever. If and when a rotation spot opens up, as it most certainly will at some point, he can step into the role and give the team some quality innings. Or, if he pitches as well as he did out of the bullpen in 2018, he could stay there and take a key late inning role.
Beyond the baseball side of it, McHugh and his family have strong ties to Houston from their time with the Astros, and fans would certainly welcome them back. With depth bring a real concern, this is exactly the type of signing this team needs to make, and it helps that there’s such a pitcher who would fit in seamlessly. Get it done, Astros.