3. Collin McHugh, RHP
Aside from Taijuan Walker and perhaps Fernando Rodney, Collin McHugh may be the player I would be the most excited to see the Mariners sign. The former Houston Astros starter turned secret bullpen weapon can fill multiple roles on the Mariners pitching staff and still possess the good raw stuff he has always had.
McHugh, who turns 33-years-old in June, struggled in 2019 and battled through some elbow pain all season. Considering he was entering free agency, there may not have been a worse possible time for this. But prior to 2019, be it as a reliever or as a starter, McHugh delivered.
In his career, he has posted an 8.67 K/9, a 2.61 BB/9, a 3.73 FIP, and a 12 fWAR in 800 innings. McHugh also scores well on the spin rate scale where his fastball sits in the 77th percentile and his curveball sits in the 88th percentile. But despite this spin rate, McHugh basically ditched the curve, throwing it just 8% of the time compared to 2018 when he threw it 18.2% of the time.
This could be a direct result of the elbow injury and if there are any lingering issues, then McHugh will have a tough time finding work in 2020.
But McHugh also has a good slider and mixes in a decent cutter and changeup. He has a starter repertoire with swing and miss stuff. He can go multiple innings out of the bullpen or could possibly be converted back to a starter.
And now, thanks to a down season and concerns about his elbow, he can a Mariner for, in the grand scheme of things, free. Where do I sign up and do I get a gift if I sign up a friend? Collin McHugh would look great in Mariners’ navy blue so long as the elbow checks out.