Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro says that righty Drew Hutchison has attracted trade interest from numerous teams, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportnet tweets. The Blue Jays expect Hutchison to rebound from a tough 2015 campaign. In a full article on the topic, however, Nicholson-Smith notes that the Blue Jays aren’t necessarily looking to deal Hutchison, who remains relatively cheap and should provide valuable depth next season.
Nicholson-Smith does explore the reasons there’s a market for Hutchison, who pitched 150 1/3 innings in 2015 and posted an ugly 5.57 ERA. Jeff Samardzija just got a $90MM contract after a 4.96 ERA season, demonstrating clearly that teams increasingly rely on scouting reports and advanced stats more heavily than traditional stats. Hutchison’s 2015 peripherals (7.7 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 39.6% ground ball rate) weren’t outstanding, but they were much better than his ERA was, so teams might see him as a buy-low candidate. Hutchison is also young, at 25, and has made 60 starts in the past two seasons.
Further down, Nicholson-Smith notes that, in addition to potentially keeping Hutchison, the Blue Jays are looking for mid-range options to improve their pitching staff. They could attempt to improve their rotation depth by adding pitchers who could also pitch out of their bullpen, and along those lines, they’ve been in touch with representatives of Joe Blanton and Craig Stammen recently. They were also in discussions with Yusmeiro Petit, although Petit now has a deal in place with the Nationals. They’ll also look to fill out their rotation at Triple-A Buffalo via trades or non-roster invites or by optioning pitchers from the Majors.