The Pirates have claimed right-hander Thomas Hatch off outright waivers from the Blue Jays, as announced by both teams. Toronto designated Hatch for assignment earlier this week.
The move officially ends Hatch’s tenure in the Jays organization after a little over four years, as Toronto initially acquired the righty in a deadline deal with the Cubs on July 30, 2019. He made his MLB debut in 2020 without the benefit of any Triple-A experience (due to the canceled minor league season) and made a good first impression, as Hatch had a 2.73 ERA over 26 1/3 relief innings despite some shaky peripheral numbers.
Hatch ran into struggles after that debut season, posting a 4.45 ERA over 240 2/3 innings at Triple-A Buffalo from 2021-23. This inconsistency as both a starter and a reliever translated into Hatch’s limited big league work, as the Blue Jays have given him a few looks in each of the last three seasons without much success. Hatch has an 8.85 ERA over 20 1/3 Major League innings since the start of the 2021 season, with seven of his 10 appearances coming out of the bullpen.
Pirates GM Ben Cherington was working in Toronto’s front office when Hatch was first acquired in 2019, and that familiarity surely contributed to the Bucs’ claim. Hatch gives Pittsburgh extra depth for the rotation or the pen, and he can still be optioned to the minors through the 2024 season, providing more flexibility. It is possible Hatch (who turns 29 in September) might thrive with a change of scenery, but at the very least, he’ll give the Pirates another arm to perhaps eat some innings over the remaining two months.