Drew Hutchison Rumors

Blue Jays Option Drew Hutchison To Triple-A

The Blue Jays announced that they have optioned struggling right-hander Drew Hutchison to Triple-A, as Shi Davidi of Sportsnet first reported they would. His demotion (along with yesterday’s demotion of left-hander Aaron Loup) clears way for Toronto to bring up outfielder Ezequiel Carrera and infielder Matt Hague, though Carrera’s promotion has not yet been made official. The Blue Jays will utilize a four-man rotation until a fifth starter is needed on Aug. 29, according to Davidi.

Hutchison, 24, was expected to hold down a rotation spot for the bulk of the 2015 season, with some projecting him to be Toronto’s most effective starter. Hutchison worked to a 4.46 ERA in 2014, but he struck out a batter per inning with good control (2.9 BB/9) and was looked upon more favorably by stats such as FIP (3.85) and xFIP (3.82). Those same stats feel he’s been slightly worse in 2015, but not to the point where his ERA should be a its current mark of 5.06.

The timing of Hutchison’s demotion has to be difficult for the right-hander, though, as he’s turned in a pair of very solid outings in his two most recent trips to the hill (combined three runs on seven hits and three walks with 11 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings). He’s already cleared three years of service time this season and wouldn’t have had a chance at four, so this move won’t prevent him from reaching arbitration and won’t delay his free agency.

Hague, 30, was claimed by the Blue Jays 364 days ago and will join the big league club for the first time on the one-year anniversary of that transaction. He’s currently hitting .348/.427/.482 with 10 homers at Buffalo. He’ll serve as a bench piece, with the Blue Jays presumably hoping that he can fill a role similar to that of Danny Valencia earlier this season.

Carrera, 28, has already logged 70 games with Toronto this season. The speedy outfielder has batted .279/.327/.374 in 164 big league plate appearances this year and is batting a very similar .276/.349/.345 in Triple-A.

Chicago Links: Beckham, Quintana, Russell, Wright, Garcia, Samardzija

The White Sox are willing to move second baseman Gordon Beckham, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, but Jose Quintana isn’t available (Twitter link). The 27-year-old Beckham opened the season on the disabled list and had a strong month of May after being activated, but he’s cooled since that time and is hitting .248/.302/.395. He’s under team control through 2015 and is earning $4.18MM this season after avoiding arbitration for the second time this season. It’s not entirely surprising that the team wouldn’t move Quintana, as he just inked a five-year, $21MM contract extension in Spring Training. He’s in the midst of his finest season in the Majors to this point, having posted a 3.20 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate.

Here are a few more items pertaining to the Sox and their north-side counterparts…

  • Left-handers James Russell and Wesley Wright are both drawing trade interest, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Each southpaw is under team control through the 2015 season, and each has a 2.22 ERA through 24 1/3 innings this season. Wright, who is earning $1.43MM is slightly more affordable than Russell and his $1.78MM salary.

Earlier Links

  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn told reporters today that injured outfielder Avisail Garcia has been cleared to resume baseball activities (via CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes). While he has a long way to go and it’s a long shot, Hahn wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Garcia could play in the Majors again this season.
  • Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Cubs talked with the Blue Jays regarding Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel before trading the pair to the A’s on Independence Day. The Cubs were asking for Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison in addition to “at least” one of Daniel Norris, Aaron Sanchez and Dalton Pompey. That’s a steep price to pay, to be sure, though none of those prospects are as highly regarded as the centerpiece Chicago did acquire in the deal — shortstop Addison Russell.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard the same five names, though he hears that they were discussed in various combinations, and the Blue Jays didn’t discuss packages to acquire both pitchers (Twitter links). One scout tells Rosenthal that Norris and Stroman could both be No. 1 or No. 2 types of starters, and the Jays would be “crazy” to deal them.
  • Speaking to WFAN’s Mike Francesca on Monday, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he had extensive negotiations with the Cubs to acquire both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but he doesn’t think the Cubs could have landed a better package than they one they wound up taking from Oakland, regardless of who they were dealing with. CBS New York has highlights and audio from the conversation.

Cafardo On Samardzija, Blue Jays, Price, Rodriguez

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at the 20 biggest disappointments of the 2014 season so far.  Near the top of the list: the Rangers unfortunate rash of injuries.  Texas will be without Prince Fielder for the rest of the season and Jurickson Profar‘s status is up in the air as well.  In total, the Rangers have had 14 players land on the disabled list, twice as many as any other team.  More from Cafardo..

  • Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija is being watched more than any pitcher by major league scouts. Among those watching are the Blue Jays, who are more convinced than ever they can win the AL East if they obtain a top starter like Samardzija. Meanwhile, one major league scout tells Cafardo that Toronto is still insistent on not giving up Drew Hutchison.
  • There’s some concern about David Price‘s performance this season when it comes to Price, including a 3-mile-per-hour dropoff in velocity in recent outings, but one AL GM doesn’t believe the Rays will have trouble getting what they want in a deal.  “Unless there’s a reason to believe he has something wrong with his shoulder, pitchers have ebbs and flows with velocity throughout a season,” said the GM. “Price will be fine.”
  • The Pirates designated Wandy Rodriguez for assignment last week and they won’t find a deal for him if the medicals are too bad, but the feeling is that some team will take a chance.
  • If new Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa starts hiring people in Arizona, Cardinals farm director Gary LaRocque could be brought aboard for a front office role.