The Boston Red Sox are working to address their need for more pitching.
The Red Sox signed free-agent right-hander Collin McHugh to a one-year contract Thursday, designating Hector Velazquez for assignment in a corresponding move.
McHugh will make $600,000 in base salary on an incentive-laden deal, The Boston Globe's Alex Speier reports.
McHugh gets a $600K base salary though performance bonuses related to innings and active days that could drive that higher.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) March 5, 2020
The 32-year-old began his career as a starter and started in 102 games for the Houston Astros from 2014 to 2017. (Yes, he was a member of the 2017 Astros, who were implicated in a massive cheating scandal.)
Houston moved McHugh to the bullpen in 2018, though, and he's started in just eight games over the past two seasons.
Considering the Red Sox' lack of rotation depth -- Boston is down to three active starters as it awaits an update on Chris Sale's elbow -- the team could convert McHugh back to starter.
The eight-year veteran has been better as a reliever, however: He posted a 1.99 ERA out of the Astros' bullpen in 2018 and went 3-4 with a 6.37 ERA in eight starts for Houston last season.
McHugh last pitched in August 2019 and may not be ready for Opening Day due to an elbow injury, according to The Globe's Pete Abraham.
McHugh, who had an elbow issue last season, has not yet started a throwing program. So he’s a while away from MLB readiness.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) March 5, 2020
McHugh isn't a high-impact pickup, but given the other arms available on the free-agent market, he could at least give the Red Sox some serviceable innings at relatively low cost.