8:45am: McHugh’s deal comes with $3.625MM available via incentives, tweets Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal. Heyman tweets that those incentives beginning at 30 innings pitched and run up through 115 innings pitched. McHugh’s roster bonuses begin at 15 days on the active roster and range up through 90 days.
8:22am: McHugh’s base salary will be $600K, tweets Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. He’ll be able to boost that sum by unlocking bonuses based on innings pitched and days spent on the active roster.
8:15am: The Red Sox announced Thursday that they’ve signed right-hander Collin McHugh to a one-year, Major League contract. In order to open a spot on the roster for the Moye Sports client, Boston has designated righty Hector Velazquez for assignment.
Boston’s announcement on McHugh coalesces with growing uncertainty surrounding the status of ace Chris Sale, who this week underwent an MRI on a problematic right elbow that has since been assessed by some of the industry’s leading surgeons. While Sale is reportedly expected to avoid going under the knife for the time being, he’ll open the year on the injured list and be sidelined for a yet-to-be-determined period of time. Adding some depth in the form of McHugh is certainly a sensible approach and arguably would’ve been necessary even had Sale been healthy.
That said, McHugh himself isn’t a lock to step right into the rotation and contribute as a starter. The 32-year-old missed about a third of the 2019 season due to elbow discomfort and finished out the year on the injured list. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported last week that McHugh had been cleared to begin throwing after undergoing a non-surgical “tenex” procedure on his elbow over the winter. His exact timetable to get on a big league mound isn’t yet clear, but he may have to begin the season on the injured list himself if he’s only recently begun throwing.
McHugh made eight starts last year but spent the rest of the 2018-19 seasons in the Astros’ bullpen. His 2019 effort was dragged down by those elbow troubles, which surely contributed to the downward trends in his velocity, swinging-strike rate, opponents’ exit velocity and opponents’ hard-hit rate. McHugh tossed 74 2/3 innings for the ’Stros last year but turned in a 4.70 ERA that was his highest mark since 2013.
In 2018, though, McHugh was utterly dominant out of the Houston ’pen. Through 72 1/3 frames, he recorded a stellar 1.99 ERA with averages of 11.7 strikeouts, 2.6 walks and 0.75 home runs per nine innings pitched. And prior to that he was a steady rotation piece, racking up 606 1/3 innings of 3.70 ERA ball (3.60 FIP) with 8.4 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 from 2014-17.
The manner in which the Red Sox utilize McHugh has not yet come to light, though he could conceivably be deployed in a variety of roles. As noted, he has extensive experience both starting and relieving. With Sale sidelined, the Boston rotation currently has Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez locked into starting gigs. Boston has discussed utilizing one or even two openers in the remaining two slots, and manager Ron Roenicke recently revealed that the club will consider stretching left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez out to pitch in lengthier stints. McHugh could function as an opener, a bulk reliever who follows an opener or simply as a conventional starter, depending on the status of his elbow and on how the organization best believes his talents can be maximized.
For now, the Red Sox still appear likely to rely on a hodgepodge of journeymen and fringe prospects to round out their pitching staff, but the ability to eventually insert a health McHugh into the thick of that mix holds clear appeal.
As for Velazquez, he’ll either be traded, run through outright waiver or released within the next seven days. The 31-year-old right-hander was knocked around to the tune of a 5.43 ERA through 56 1/3 innings in 2019. And although he notched a 3.12 ERA with 5.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 47 percent grounder rate in 109 2/3 innings from 2017-18, Velazquez’s secondary metrics are less encouraging than that earned run average. His 4.28 FIP was noticeably higher, and he ranked near the bottom of the league in terms of spin rates, hard-hit rates and opponents’ exit velocity. He has a minor league option left and has worked as both a starter and reliever, so it’s possible another club will take him on as a depth piece.
Solid pickup in McHugh. A little surprised he lingered so long. Not a world beater but you could do much worse.
I agree. 4.43 FIP and 80 strikeouts in 74.2 innings last year. A $600k base seems quite reasonable.
You know what this is called? Intimidation.
As a starter, the wheels completely fell off for him and he spent time on the IL. His best work the last few years has been as a reliever. Hope he can get stretched out again though, nasty breaking balls when he is right
Agreed. I kept thinking how much a McHugh would make sense for the Red Sox even before the Sale injury but I’m surprised he was still on the market considering what he got.
all in the suit that you wear
Good incentives-based deal.
this is a good signing by the Red Sox. Been watching Collin McHugh for some time now. Don’t let his “ah shucks” looks full you. He is a tenacious competitor.
Def a solid pickup for any team trying to be frugal really. Boston needed more vetted starting options.
Not a good vector for Hector
Unless you own a tattoo parlor….A Neck tattoo always makes me concerned for a person’s ability to make important life decisions.
I’ve always liked McHugh.
Hope he does well in Bean Town!
just my opinion
They sure need pitching
Sale is going to miss months, huh
Velazquez, to me was the best option for the last spot in the rotation with what they had. Anyone is better than Weber, Johnson and that castoff of misfits they collected over the winter.. velazquez has been able to get some guys out at the MLB level the last cpl years and he still had at least 1 option.
He will clear waivers
Hector always pitcher with tons of runs on base and was lucky his era was that low. He did well in 2018, but his whip and velocity were not that impressive. He will probably clear waivers.
I am surprised RS did not just put Sale on the 60 day IL retro or as of today. He would be eligible May 5th, since he will probably be out that long anyway and they would not risk loosing Velázquez. The only answer is that they do not think Sale is injured that badly or they really do not think Velázquez is worth keeping.
Damn, was hoping the White Sox would pick him up. Good signing by Boston.
They need to throw a few more darts out by offering guys like Harvey and Sanchez minor deals.
Harvey is DONE.
Gary, you’re most likely right that he is. But our options for the back end of the rotation are bad enough that no harm would be done in bringing him in to find out for sure.
Houck would be a better option with higher upside and lower cost. Give the rookie a chance
And Salazar. We’re already throwing crap at the wall to see what’s going to stick at the back of the rotation, you’d think we’d want a bigger pile of crap to increase the odds of something sticking.
Salazar is no longer a starting option
That’s fine, if Salazar could go an inning or two I would be fine deploying him as an opener or something if it means never having to watch Colten Brewer pitch again.
Lol. Brewer blows
Sale has a problematic RIGHT elbow? Doesn’t he pitch left handed?
Good example of low risk possible high reward
Even more trash
Chatwood and Almora for JBJ and Johnson.. who says no? Money is about the same..Chatwood is better than Johnson by about the same amount that JBJ is better than Almora.
I think Bloom says no to that one. If Chatwood struggles in Chicago there is no way he could handle the AL East.
Rsox – Chatwood is not good.. average at best. But other than 2018 he is always right around era+ of 100.. in colorado and wrigley field. His issue is walks which were not great last year but much better than 2018. Its not like JBJ is Fred Lynn and almora could turn into decent 4th OF’er. Do you think Sox would give up JBJ and 2 middle of the pack P prospects for quintana instead of Chatwood?
Yes, they would do that for Q, so long as the economics work out for them. They have to stay below the CBT this season.
I’d be thrilled to roll the dice on Quintana. Would be an interesting trade.
They probably would. Quintana has more upside.
About time Bloom adds a starter. Unfortunately we have no idea if we will see McHugh or Sale first.
well at least he’s already familiar with the sign stealing system
Trash.Can you do better?
The right move for Boston at this point.
He should put us over the top! You will not see Sale until maybe Mid May at the earliest! This team has two pitchers on the roster and one of them has a horrible injury history. The bullpen has holes in it and Bloom picked up no pitching for Betts and Price. Their team will be in a hole by May and the fans will be peeved off what happened.
AL34 – you must have had a terrible 2018. Nothing to complain about. Lol
It’s a start. now do the same with Aaron Sanchez, and pick up a couple more AAAA guys on minors deals, and hope you salvage something of this season.
Solid move. Good arm.
If the Yankees signed him you would call it suspicious. Because you’re a world class conspiracy theorist. Put on your tin foil hat and head for Roswell! The aliens have landed!
Good move by the Bloom by picking up McHugh. Now he needs to go grab Aaron Sanchez or even Andrew Cashner or even Clay Buchholz…might be best to grab 2 of them. Then go grab Tony Cingrani as a valuable lefty in the pen along with either Arodys Vizcaino or Addison Reed as a valued righty in the pen. Then release some of the garbage they have in the pen currently. As a BoSox fan I can’t stand to see them just fishing at the barrel’s bottom to get some pitching help.
Clay Buchholz back in Red Sox uniform would be nice to see again
Just need some decent innings (100+) eaters that won’t give up tons of runs at this point & I think Sanchez, Cashner & Buchholz could all fit the bill for doing just that. Buchholz would be the least of a innings eater because of age & etc but they do project him to throw 90+ on Baseball Reference compared to 135-140+ range for Sanchez & Cashner.
Cashner is the best innings eater of the bunch. The problem is that the RS brought him in last year and he got absolutely creamed there.
Cashner did have a tough go of it but on the flip side of things he was never really given much of an opportunity only starting 6 games out of the 25 he appeared in.
Doing a stand up comedy routine in a Boston area club.
You know what this is called? Intimidation.
Aaron Sanchez is still a question mark as far as his return goes. I think that is the reason Houston non-tendered him. Has there been word yet on when?
From what I have read or heard it looks like Sanchez is going to miss the start of the season but nothing has been posted as to exactly how much time he is going to miss. If I were Bloom I would be contacting him/his agent to offer a 1 year incentive-laden deal with an option for a 2nd year.
You know what this is called? Intimidation.
His appearance in that no-hitter before going on the IL makes the trade one of the most bizarre in recent memory
Would love to say Clay back. I did not like Cashner at all last year, that said I would prefer to see him back too rather than some of these scrubs currently vying for the fifth spot. Wish they’d also take a flier on Salazar, maybe Sanchez too.
Do any of you guys wonder why all of these guys are still free agents? There are lots of very pitching needy teams out there, yet none of these guys made the cut when they were available for signing. I’m sorry, but these guys are available because they are the absolute bottom of the barrel. Every team in need has looked them over, rejected them and gone another route. Expecting anything from any of these guys is a useless exercise.
Yes, I know exactly why they’re still free agents and have no delusions about it. But I also watch about 150 Red Sox games per year and can tell you with absolute certainty I would rather see them throw hail marys at some of these FA guys than see any more of Velazquez, Weber, Johnson, Taylor, Brewer, or anyone else currently vying for our 4th and 5th starter positions.
Odds are a Harvey or Sanchez or Salazar or whomever is nothing. Guess what, so are all the names I just rattled off. At least with the guys who have amounted to something before there is the minuscule chance they could rediscover their old ways.
“The club will consider stretching out Darwinzon Hernandez”
They should probably let him learn how to consistently throw strikes out of the pen. If he can’t do that there’s absolutely no chance you’re going to get any length out of him.
Agree. Part of why they ruined Bard was jerking him around between a setup and SP role. Let him get comfortable with one. If he looks great in a bullpen role and shows an aptitude that maybe he could be a starter, cross that bridge when you get there. But he isn’t a starter yet. He and McHugh and Workman could combine to give us a pretty good back end trio in the bullpen though.
Jbigz12 – Darwinzon Hernández has great potential, but he has trouble throwing strikes. I would hate to see Daniel Bard 2.0
welcome to New York, Hector
FINALLY!!!! Red Sox faithful have been asking for this signing for months now. Way to go, Chaim! Danny Salazar is on line 2.
Holy hell I forgot about adding Salazar in the mix….he too would be a great pick up!
Sort of like the concept of buying a junk bond fund.
Put all the crap on your team for short money and 1 may emerge.
Cut the rest if they don’t and keep trying to find more crap.
I agree it’s the way to go.
It beats paying big bucks for crap you don’t know about.
McHugh is just an Apple watch away from being as good as he was in Houston.
Aside from maybe W-L record, in what way would a pitcher’s stats be affected by hitters on his team stealing signs from another team’s pitchers? Swing and a miss, moron.
dynamite drop in monty
Haha nicely done.
Depends on whether you think a pitcher is emotionally affected by how well his teammates are doing. Not crazy to think that at least some pitchers are. I’m sure there’s decent science behind emotions being contagious. I’m also sure there’s good science behind people doing well if they’re feeling good. So, I think you’re wrong. Which makes you wrong, too, dynamite.
Nice signing by the Red Sox. I’m bummed that the Astros didn’t resign him. He seems like a great dude. His wife is a hilarious follow on Twitter and he has a good podcast he does every now and then – The Twelve Six Podcast. Good luck in Beantown Snap Dragon 2.
Great signing… I know there are some health concerns but the risk reward scenario is huge here. If healthy and returns to his pre-2019 form he’ll prove to be an invaluable asset to the Sox either in the pen, the rotation or some sort of swing/hybrid role. I was really hoping they’d sign him and am really happy they did!
Under the radar Sox will make some noise.
Company for Sale and Pedroia on the IL?
Now…only need one more to seat a bridge table.
One cheating team to the next
show a little respect for team of the century
The Giants? They are, after all, the only dynasty of the century. If nothing else I would at least call it a tie.
Red Sox 4 Giants 3. Nope.
Funny how just 1 signing has brought hope when all hope was apparently lost by some?