Houston Astros: Jared Hughes is the team’s latest reclamation project

Houston Astros pitcher Jared Hughes (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Houston Astros pitcher Jared Hughes (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros have signed RHP Jared Hughes to a one-year deal, helping with depth in the pitching rotation as a reclamation project. How so? Look.

The Houston Astros pitching rotation is definitely one that’s in question for this season as they’ve lost the services of Gerrit Cole to the New York Yankees.  He agreed to a multi-year contract topping more than $300 million which is definitely something the Houston Astros would’ve not been able to match.

But who is this team left with? The team’s top aces are now Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke. We know Verlander’s track record through his career but Greinke was a question mark considering his performance in the postseason. He pitched well all through the Houston Astros‘ crusade through the 2019 postseason and I’m still wondering why AJ Hinch pulled him in Game 7 of the World Series.

He was doing so well and although guys were getting on base and he was getting into a semi-jam, I think he would’ve been able to get himself out of it. I’m thankful that Greinke is here because this rotation would’ve been toast with just Verlander as the headliner.

This team still has two good aces to boot and Lance McCullers Jr. will return to the lineup after missing all of 2019 recovering from Tommy John‘s surgery. He’s amped, he’s ready to go and this team will need his services moving forward.

But how will the final two spots be filled? Brad Peacock is definitely available plus Framber Valdez is also on deck, even Forrest Whitley is a strong possibility to bring in although we’re likely not

going to see him until around June, depending on where his service time is at. I’m sure it’s close to where it needs to be.

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how this rotation is filled out over the next month as we watch the battle take place. Yes, I consider this to be a battle for the final two spots of the rotation so let’s definitely keep an eye on that.

I think the bullpen has also suffered a significant loss when Will Harris decided to sign with the Washington Nationals. Harris had been a significant part of the bullpen for about half a decade and he should be dubbed the busboy because he usually had to go in and clean up the mess that the preceding pitcher would create.

He was good at what he did and now the Houston Astros will have to fill that void.

The franchise has signed a pitcher — in incoming general manager James Click’s first move — signing Jared Hughes to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.

Hughes, 34, is a reliever in every sense of the word and the team will be counting on Hughes to provide some semblance to Harris’ role with the Houston Astros.

He has bounced around quite a bit in the MLB — having played for three teams over the past three seasons — but the team can hope that they glean a nugget out of his ability to improve once he’s within the organization.

We’ve seen it many times — Charlie Morton, Mike Fiers and the list goes on and on as far as how the Houston Astros, particularly pitching coach wizard Brent Strom, have been able to resurrect pitcher’s careers left for dead.

Let’s hope the same with Hughes.

Hughes’ performance last season wasn’t anything to write home about but when one looks at how he performed in 2018, then there’s hope that he can turn things around.

He seems to be a guy that can minimize harm by getting strikeouts, keeping his home runs that he

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gives up low and trying not to walk batters as they come into his wheelhouse. That’s pretty much all one has to do as a reliever, to protect or fix whatever the preceding pitcher has done before him.

His calling card is his sinker with a two-seam grip along with a nice slider, curveball and a mostly-reliable four-seam fastball that can get to well over 90 miles per hour.

It’s tough to tell how he will transition to the Houston Astros but I think that he has a good shot of being able to make an impact on this roster.

I really want to keep an eagle eye on him during Spring Training to see how well he performs.

MLB.com’s Richard Justice shared some terrific information about Hughes’ personality in regard to his relationship with Charlie Morton and it goes to show that he does have a sense of humor, especially when it comes to editing Wikipedia articles.

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It’s time to hope for the best.

Hughes posted a 4.04 ERA, while tossing 54 strikeouts to 32 earned runs along with a 1.18 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, 1.6 H/9 through 71.1 innings pitched with the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies in 2019.