One of the names surprisingly still kicking around there without a job is former Houstons Astros swingman Collin McHugh. According to Scott Mitchell, the Blue Jays have internally discussed McHugh as a late-spring addition.
McHugh has been discussed internally by #BlueJays.
Long injury history and decent track record as a starter (4.14 ERA across 119 starts), but he’s potentially a high-end late-inning arm.
.206 BA against, 11 K/9, 2.76 ERA in 114 career IP out of the ‘pen. https://t.co/qTnSR9R5yY
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) February 28, 2020
Remember, the Jays didn’t add Daniel Hudson until March 25th of last year, meaning there’s plenty of time before the start of the season for the bullpen to completely change. As of right now, the Jays have a laundry list of interesting arms vying for jobs out of the ‘pen, but there’s always room for more, especially if it’s somebody with the upside and pedigree of McHugh.
According to MLB Trade Rumours, McHugh has been cleared to begin a throwing program after undergoing a non-surgical procedure on his right elbow in the off-season. He’s behind other pitchers and wouldn’t be ready for the start of the regular season, but would be an investment for later on.
McHugh had a poor season in Houston in 2019, though that can mostly be chalked up to the elbow discomfort he dealt with. McHugh posted a 4.70 ERA as a starter and reliever over the course of 74 2/3 innings last year. But if his 2018 season is any indication, a healthy McHugh could be a weapon in the bullpen. He was exclusively a reliever for the Astros that year and was absolutely lights out, posting a 1.99 ERA over 72 1/3 innings while striking out 11.7 batters per nine.
As Jon Heyman reported, pretty much everybody has checked in on McHugh. The Blue Jays could be a nice opportunity for him to rebuild his value, much like Daniel Hudson did last year.
Toronto has a huge list of names competing for high-leverage roles in the ‘pen, but it’s really completely wide-open after Ken Giles at this point. And, if Giles is dealt at the deadline, there would be an opening at closer for somebody like McHugh to slide into the role to prove himself, which is obviously ideal for a guy like McHugh as he tries to build up the case that he’s a lock-down bullpen arm.