Baltimore Orioles: Six Post-Winter Meetings Free Agent Pitching Targets

DENVER, COLORADO - JUNE 14: Pitcher Chad Bettis #35 of the Colorado Rockies pitches in the sixth inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on June 14, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - JUNE 14: Pitcher Chad Bettis #35 of the Colorado Rockies pitches in the sixth inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on June 14, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Baltimore Orioles
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 01: Collin McHugh #31 of the Houston Astros delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 1, 2019 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Collin McHugh is a name we can get behind, should the Baltimore Orioles take a shot.

Collin McHugh seems like a no-brainer and I’m ashamed to have not already included him in our early looks at potential free agent signings for the Baltimore Orioles. McHugh burst onto the scene in 2014 with the Houston Astros, putting together back-to-back 3+ fWAR seasons before injuries starting taking their toll and he ultimately found himself in the bullpen.

McHugh the reliever has proven to be a valuable piece, striking out 33% of hitters and posting a 1.99 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and a .175 average against in 2018. An elbow injury limited him to 35 appearances in 2019 and led him to miss the playoffs. He still struck out nearly 10/9 IP and held opponents to a .218 average.

Mike Elias knows McHugh very well from his time in Houston and could bring back the formula that previously worked so well for him. Utilizing a high-spin fastball and curveball combo and a slider that produced a 40% whiff rate and limited hitters to a .175 average, McHugh would have the opportunity to rejoin the starting rotation as a member of the Orioles. If his days as a starter are done, using him out of the pen or in a piggy-back situation (possibly with another name on this list) could also work.

Despite his injuries, McHugh could have multiple suitors later this winter, but will his familiarity with the Orioles help bring him to Baltimore, if the Orioles are interested?