Meet the New Guy: Red Sox Sign Right-Handed Pitcher

On Thursday morning, the Boston Red Sox signed former Astros right-hander Collin McHugh to a one-year contract worth up to $4.25 million in incentives.

As a corresponding move, the Red Sox have designated right-hander Hector Velázquez for assignment.

It was one of the ongoing mysteries of the offseason to see McHugh remain unsigned. He did have a down year for the Astros in 2019, posting the worst FIP of his career (min. 30 innings), and also saw his strikeout rate dropped 7.3 percent. However, when looking at his full body of work the past three seasons with Houston, he’s a completely different arm.

Over the past few years, McHugh has split time between the rotation (20 starts) and the bullpen (106 innings). Overall, he’s been much better suited for coming out of the bullpen.

In those 106 innings since 2017, McHugh posted a 2.26 ERA with a 2.94 FIP, a 3.56 xFIP, and was an absolute monster in 2018, posting a 2.62 SIERA.

As a starter, McHugh posted a 4.66/4.39/4.58 slash line. Overall, not bad, but it’s no mystery where he’s at his absolute best.

That being said, it seems that the 32-year-old is destined for the rotation since Boston is in a state of flux at the No. 5 spot. Even though Ryan Weber and Tanner Houck have shown out at Fenway South, McHugh brings with him the proven ability to eat innings at the MLB level.

A team desperate to make a good signing has certainly done so here, as McHugh is going to be very productive no matter what capacity Red Sox personnel sees fit.

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