Former Red Sox reliever Collin McHugh will not be taking his talents back to Boston this year. The free agent right-hander has instead signed a two-year deal with the Braves, the club announced on Tuesday evening.
Per a team release, McHugh’s contract includes $10 million in guaranteed money. The 34-year-old will earn $4 million this season and an additional $5 million in 2023. There is also a $6 million club option for 2024 that comes with a $1 million buyout.
A veteran of nine major-league seasons, McHugh originally signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox in March 2020 after a successful six-year stint with the Astros. At that time, however, the righty was still recovering from a Tenex procedure he underwent the previous December to treat a flexor strain in his elbow.
After the COVID-19 shutdown halted spring training and delayed the start of the 2020 campaign, McHugh reported to Fenway Park for summer camp but ultimately opted out of the season altogether since he was not progressing well from his elbow procedure.
The Rays then signed McHugh to another one-year deal last February and he made the most of it. Despite multiple trips to the injured list in 2021, the 6-foot-2, 191 pound hurler still bounced back by posting a 1.55 ERA and 2.12 FIP with 74 strikeouts to 12 walks over 37 appearances (seven starts) spanning 64 innings of work for Tampa Bay.
On the heels of such an effective campaign, McHugh was seen as a viable free agent target for the Red Sox since he is undoubtedly familiar with the organization and can pitch in a variety of roles.
As recently as last Friday, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reported that the Sox were indeed “among the teams with interest” in McHugh. How interested Boston was in McHugh remains unclear, but it obviously was not enough in the end for any sort of reunion.
While chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will now have to continue to look elsewhere for bullpen help, McHugh is heading back to his home state of Georgia to pitch for the team he grew up watching.
(Picture of Collin McHugh: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)