Hutchison earned $2.3MM this year and would be eligible for arbitration for two more campaigns. But he never made it up to the majors in 2017 and clearly was destined for a non-tender. Hutchison is now slated to qualify as a minor-league free agent at the end of the year, as Dreker notes.
Though it was largely inevitable — in substance, if not in timing or process — the move isn’t likely to be terribly well-received by Pirates fans. Many of the Pittsburgh faithful have already been incensed by the team’s decision to allow reliever Juan Nicasio to depart via outright waivers, a move that ultimately saw him end up closing games for the division-rival Cardinals as they seek to make a postseason run.
Hutchison has been a target of some ire ever since he was acquired in a controversial deal at last year’s trade deadline. That late-breaking swap sent two prospects — Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire — to the Blue Jays along with the expensive contract of Francisco Liriano. While the Bucs insisted they had real interest in adding Hutchison, there was clearly a financial motivation at play as well.
It doesn’t help, of course, that Hutchison has not contributed since arriving in Pittsburgh. Once a highly regarded young starter, he faltered in Toronto evidently hasn’t shown enough since finding his way to an organization oft lauded for its pitching turnarounds. Hutchison appeared briefly in the majors last year but hasn’t appeared for the Pirates in 2017, despite occupying a 40-man spot and earning his arb salary all year long. He does own a 3.56 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 through 159 1/3 Triple-A frames, but clearly the Bucs were not confident that he’d carry that into the majors.