There aren’t too many reunions for the New York Mets to make this offseason with players from the franchise’s past. One that some fans have pondered is a reboot with Collin McHugh.
From 2014-2019, McHugh was a vital part of the Houston Astros organization. He was one of their better starts in the first part of his tenure. In the final two years, he worked almost exclusively out of the bullpen.
Now a free agent and fresh from a 6-1 season with a 1.55 ERA performance as a starter and reliever with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2022, he’s a reunion candidate for the Mets to explore. He is, however, not the greatest of fits for what they need.
Why a reunion between the Mets and Collin McHugh isn’t the direction to go.
McHugh’s ability to pitch as a starter or reliever makes him a valuable piece on the open market. It’s not a good idea to flip him between the two roles. However, for the purpose of depth, I can understand why a team like the Mets might look at him.
I would imagine McHugh’s market would profile him as more of a reliever than starter at this stage of his career. The Mets have some open spots in their bullpen. McHugh doesn’t seem to fit in with exactly what it is they should add.
The Mets have relievers to set up closer Edwin Diaz. They also have a long man, Trevor Williams, capable of doing what McHugh could in his best season. All of these guys throw right-handed, too. Therein lies the problem. Adding McHugh gives the Mets one less roster spot to pack a lefty into their bullpen.
If the Mets were interested in moving on from Williams, McHugh might fit in with exactly what they could need. He has a little bit of Seth Lugo in him. Back in 2018, McHugh pitched 72.1 innings of relief in only 58 appearances for the Astros. The result was a 6-2 record and 1.99 ERA.
Way back in 2012 and 2013, McHugh was a Mets pitcher in his mid-20s hoping for a big league roster spot. He was traded in mid-2013 to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Eric Young Jr. It was a forgettable trade at the time. However, in 2014, McHugh began to shine. He had made 25 starts in his rookie season, winning 11 games and posting a 2.73 ERA.
The time for a reunion between the Mets and McHugh has now passed. Even if they had the desire to make him a starter, would he actually be the best option for the club to go with? He hasn’t started more than 8 games since 2017. McHugh is a high-leverage reliever with starter abilities.
There won’t be a reunion with his first major league team this winter. McHugh should find a nice home in someone’s bullpen. It won’t be at the one located in Flushing.