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.