The Boston Red Sox have some major concerns with their pitching staff this year. At the moment, they only know who three of their starters will be: Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Martin Perez. Elsewhere, Chris Sale is dealing with an injury that may eventually require Tommy John surgery.
And while the coaching staff seems to like Ryan Weber, the journeyman is far from a sure thing as a starter.
That's part of the reason that the Sox went out and signed Collin McHugh. The veteran, formerly of the Houston Astros, should provide depth to the rotation and will have a chance to make an impact as a starter or a reliever.
But the question at the moment is, when exactly will that be?
McHugh, 32, hasn't pitched in about six months after he dealt with an elbow injury last season. He was diagnosed with a flexor tendon strain and had a procedure in December to try to help the injury improve.
And when asked about a potential timetable to return, he was non-committal and said the team would figure things out in the near future.
“They’re getting to know me,” McHugh said, per Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe. “I think we’ll have a better idea moving forward in a couple of weeks in figuring exactly what the road ahead looks like for me.”
So, it may be some time before McHugh gets on the mound for the team. Either way, he could be a valuable addition and came on a cheap one-year deal after going 15-9 with a 3.42 ERA and 238 strikeouts in 210 1/3 innings (20 starts) the past three seasons in Houston.
It also doesn't hurt that McHugh seems excited to get a chance to play for the Red Sox.
“It’s the Red Sox, one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. I’m a huge baseball fan,” McHugh said per Abraham. “So for me, that’s kind of a pinch-me moment to look up and realize you’re playing for a team that’s been around for so long and had so many players come through here.”
McHugh will need to be closely watched in the early stages of the season. But if he can return early enough, he could carve out a role and address some of the pitching staff's depth issues and even if the season doesn't go well, the Red Sox may have a chance to trade him for a prospect at the deadline.