Why Would The Blue Jays Trade Drew Hutchison?

Drew Hutchison
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Depth. Depth, depth, depth.

Pitching depth, in particular.

This, as much as anything, has been the mantra of the Toronto Blue Jays since approximately the time that Alex Anthopoulos departed and Mark Shapiro, then Ross Atkins, arrived on the scene.

And yet today, thanks to some nudging from Jon Morosi, who says there will be scouts in the stands for tonight’s Jays-Yankees tilt (not terribly unlike there are for probably every game on the MLB calendar), we’re supposed to be talking about the team possibly trading Drew Hutchison.

Huh?

One of the bigger stories this week has centred on the lingering question of whether the Jays will keep Aaron Sanchez a starter or move him back to the bullpen. This remains a question largely because of the presence of Gavin Floyd, who has looked entirely serviceable so far, and who the new regime brought in — on a big league contract, no less — precisely because of their insistence on depth.

Now you’re telling me that, at the same time as all this is very publicly going on, we’re supposed to believe that Hutchison might find himself in a trade-for-the-sake-of-a-trade, thinning that depth just as the club could potentially elect to give Floyd a rotation spot and use Sanchez in relief? Leaving the metal plate in the elbow that’s limited Floyd to just 14 starts and seven relief appearances since 20-effing-12 as the only thing that stands between the fifth spot in the Jays’ rotation and a list of warm bodies that starts at Jesse Chavez and then immediately nosedives?

Huh?

Trolololosi says that he has “a strong sense that if the right offer came around for him, they would make a trade” (no shit, Sherlock) and suggests that having Hutchison pitch a night start against the Yankees, as he’ll do tonight, is precisely what a team would do if they were trying to showcase him.

LOL!

I mean… huh?

I get that it’s a bit of a waste to have Hutchison in Buffalo — especially if Sanchez is allowed to start and remains on the depth chart ahead of him — and that there are other teams that would be interested in him (Morosi, according to Sportsnet, suggests the A’s and the Dodgers as two of them), and might even give up something decent for him. But what even could the Jays use, at this point?

A clear left field upgrade? A reliever? A backup catcher?

Are they really going to get a left fielder worth losing Hutchison (at what very possibly could be the low ebb of his value) and making Michael Saunders redundant for? Do they need a backup catcher or an extra reliever so badly as to give up Hutchison, with his big league experience, potential, and two years of team control after this one?

What they really need, I think quite obviously, is a guy a whole lot like Drew Hutchison.

Floyd breaking or faltering and Sanchez struggling too badly against lefties or ending up in the bullpen are not exactly unlikely scenarios! And that says nothing of what injuries might end up biting the other four starters.

Even accounting for the loss of Marcus Stroman for most of the year, the Jays were remarkably healthy on the pitching front in 2015, which contributed to their success in a major way. Part of that has to do with the fact that the organization seemed to turn a corner with respect to its awareness of the importance of injury prevention following their disastrous 2013, which saw Brandon Morrow make just 10 starts, Josh Johnson only 16 (many of which were awful), and found them starting Esmil Rogers 20 times, Todd Redmond 14 times, ten combined starts from Chien-Ming Wang and Ramon Oriz, and seven more combined out of Chad Jenkins, Ricky Romero, Aaron Laffey, and Sean Nolin. But we can’t just assume that will happen again.

Depth is what Atkins and Shapiro preached to us all winter long. Depth is, at least theoretically, a big part of the reason the club didn’t push harder to bring back David Price. Depth is especially necessary with a view to next year, with no prospect starters on the horizon, and as Floyd and Chavez and Cecil and Storen and RA Dickey all hit free agency — as do players at a couple other positions, where I think we all hope the club will be spending whatever resources they have, rather than buying more pitching out of a necessity precipitated in part by moving a guy like Hutchison away eight months prior!

Hutchison alone is hardly a panacea for all that, but to give up the crucial piece of depth and potential future that he represents, thereby putting so many eggs for this win-now season in the Floyd/Sanchez basket, after repeating all winter how important it is to have a proper taxi squad in Buffalo?

You’d sure have to get a hell of a piece back to justify it. A piece a whole lot better, I suspect, than you’re going to be able to get for Drew Hutchison at this point in his baseball odyssey.

In other words: huh?

  • Steve02

    Not that Morosi is on to something. But perhaps, if anything, Hutch could be included in a deal that brings a more established pitcher in return? Kinda like how Alvarez was shipped to Miami.

  • Couldn’t have said it better. This makes absolutely zero sense. Even if Hutch spends the entire year in Triple A, with Dickey, Chavez and Floyd likely gone in 2017, his path to the rotation is a lot more clear.

  • Barry

    I didn’t listen to the interview — only read the article — but isn’t this just Morosi finding himself on air and opening his mouth to let a random assortment of words fall out?

    Really, does he actually SAY anything? He doesn’t even say he’s heard that scouts will be there, does he? Just that he thinks they will. And he thinks this because if the Jays were going to think about trading him they’d have him start a night game, and whattaya know, he’s starting a night game! And he says that the Jays would trade him “for the right offer.” I can’t “duh” that comment loud enough. Of course they would. If the Dodgers offered Kershaw for Hutch and picked up Kershaw’s salary, I think the Jays would go for it. “Right offer” encompasses a lot.

    Is Hutch pitching out of turn or something? I think this is his scheduled appearance, isn’t it? Because unless the Jays juggled their pitchers to put Hutch in tonight, Morosi’s got nuthin’. He could have come up with the same story about whoever happened to be on the mound.

    • Bang on. We shouldn’t let Morosi’s ramblings drive the conversation so much, but he’s got that national platform and is on Sportsnet so much that it’s just natural that whatever silly thing he wants to say to stir up an otherwise mundane day — which he totally does — seems to take on a life of its own. Nice racket if you can get it, I guess.

  • Dosh

    Hutch is a still a young pitcher and might develop into a third starter down the road. But if we can net a similar prospect maybe two years behind in development and a little extra to make it worth our while it’s not a bad idea. Behind Sanchez, Floyd, and Chavez, Hutch won’t really get more than three starts this year.

      • Dosh

        Yes. It’s probably not the right argument for this thread, but as great as JB and EE are I’m on board with bringing only JB back, and having some room at the DH spot for an aging JB, Tulo, Donaldson and maybe even Martin.

        It’s cold, and treasonous, but I think it might be loosen the cuffs a few years down the road

  • GSMC

    Trading Hutch makes no sense whatsoever. If he doesn’t make the big league team, they should be addressing his issues in Buffalo. He’s got big league stuff and is still only 24.

  • Nego

    I’m not so sure I’m sold on Hutch, and don’t think he’s someone we can realistically count on for the rotation in 2017. Maybe the new front office feels the same way.

    That being said, his value is definitely at a low point. Doesn’t make sense to move him now. Maybe at the deadline or something, when a need emerges. Though if he pitches well enough to increase value we would likely have more of a reason to hang on to him.

    I know he has options, but maybe as a 24-year old with service time he might not take too kindly to pitching for Buffalo (like Sanchez). It’s entirely possible he’d request a trade if not on the MLB roster. There would be a ton of financial implications for him in AAA vs. MLB. Doesn’t mean we have to trade him (see Navarro) but could be a reason why it’s being discussed.

  • Warren_

    I’ve always felt like Hutch was the unfortunate target of another one of those “Alex Anthopolous rush jobs”. He was pitching in A-ball at age 20 and in the major leagues at age 21. He had 6 starts in New Hampshire and none in Buffalo along the way. That’s far, far too quick for a guy who wasn’t an obvious “#1” as a teenager like, say, Felix Hernandez. And even Felix spent a full year between AA and AAA before coming up to the Mariners.

  • Sandman

    Sanchez should be a starter but he has never pitched 100 innings. Floyd could destruct yesterday. Chavez cratered in the 2nd half last year. We hope good Happ and good Estrada will show up; but we don’t know that they will.

    When the smoke clears away, Hutch could be the guy who ends up as the #2 starter on a playoff team. Stranger things have happened. Would have to be a helluva a deal for trading him to make any sense.