Following this weekend’s outright of Drew Hutchison, Pirates GM Neal Huntington spoke to Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the decision to move on from the right-hander, who is now very likely to become a free agent at season’s end. While Hutchison was the lone return the Pirates received in exchange for dumping Francisco Liriano’s contract and sending two prospects to the Blue Jays, Huntington indicated that he’s been passed on the depth chart by other arms. “We traded for him with the idea that he was a controllable, young starter that could fill a rotation spot for years to come,” said Huntington. “We just also decided this year that the growth and development of our guys put them ahead of him.” The Pirates have relied heavily upon Chad Kuhl, Trevor Williams, Steven Brault and Tyler Glasnow to make starts behind Gerrit Cole, Ivan Nova and Jameson Taillon this season. With Hutchison eligible for arbitration this winter, the lack of room in the rotation makes his removal from the 40-man roster is essentially the same as non-tendering him several months in advance.
A bit more from the NL…
- Kevin Plawecki’s improved play in Triple-A made the Mets feel comfortable letting Rene Rivera go on a waiver claim to the Cubs last month, writes Mike Puma of the New York Post, and his solid production in the Majors now leaves him feeling less concerned about losing his roster spot. The 26-year-old admitted to pressing too much in the past to “try to make some things happen” but said he’s in a different mental state this time around. “[W]hat has been different this time is just trusting what I have been doing all season [in Triple-A] and not having that thought in the back of my head, ‘How long am I going to be here and how big of a window do I have to prove myself?’” Mets GM Sandy Alderson has previously suggested that the Mets are unlikely to pursue catching upgrades this winter, meaning Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud figure to play prominent roles with the 2018 club. Since being recalled from Triple-A, Plawecki is hitting .283/.387/.482 in 17 games.
- Right-hander Tyler Chatwood tells Nick Groke of the Denver Post that he wasn’t pleased when the Rockies demoted him to a relief role earlier this summer, but he used the frustration as motivation to reclaim his rotation spot. The 27-year-old acknowledged that his mechanics had been off, specifically when it comes to his two-seam fastball — his best pitch. Chatwood made clear that he views himself as a starting pitcher, which is notable for an impending free agent that looks to be finishing the season strongly. He’s allowed one run in 13 2/3 innings since moving back into the rotation and has an overall 1.54 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a 60 percent ground-ball rate over his past nine appearances (23 1/3 innings).
- Jake Lamb’s struggles against left-handed pitching are beginning to cost him at-bats, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Lamb has only started four of the D-backs’ past 10 games against a southpaw, with trade pickup Adam Rosales garnering the other six starts at third base. Lamb’s troubles would be particularly problematic in a postseason series against the Dodgers, Piecoro points out, as Los Angeles could send lefties Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Alex Wood to the mound in a short series. Lamb is hitting just .146/.271/.301 with a 34 percent strikeout rate against lefties this season. Speculatively speaking, it’s worth wondering if the D-backs would pursue a platoon partner this offseason as well, though a fully healthy Diamondbacks roster would also have more options to help out at third base.