The Astros are known to be looking for a front-end arm to add to their rotation, but they’re also “dangling” right-handers Collin McHugh and Mike Fiers in an effort to create flexibility on their roster and in the payroll, reports ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
McHugh, 29, has been one of the Astros’ best finds since Jeff Luhnow took over as the team’s general manager. Plucked off waivers from the Rockies three years ago, McHugh has given the ’Stros 543 innings of 3.71 ERA ball over the past three seasons, but his ERA has trended in the wrong direction in each of the past two seasons. The 2016 campaign saw McHugh log a respectable 4.34 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 41.3 percent ground-ball rate in 184 2/3 innings. Those are still solid secondary stats, though, and metrics like FIP, xFIP and SIERA all suggest that he pitched better than his ERA indicates, pegging him in the upper-3.00s and low 4.00s. He’s controllable through the 2019 season and is projected to earn $4.6MM next year by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
Fiers, too, is controllable through the 2019 season, though he’s a bit older. The 31-year-old posted a 4.48 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 42.2 percent ground-ball rate in 168 2/3 innings out of the Houston rotation last year. Fiers has seen his strikeout rate trend down in recent years, but his ground-ball rate has increased in its place. He’s also been rather consistent in terms of showing solid control throughout his big league career. Fiers is projected to earn $4.3MM in arbitration, so like McHugh, he’d be affordable for any team from a financial standpoint.