The Blue Jays sign five players to minor league deals with invites to spring training, including 2015 opening day starter Drew Hutchison
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29 days ago
It’s hard to believe that pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Florida in just a few short weeks.
Today, the Blue Jays Twitter account announced that they’ve signed five players to minor league deals, with an invite to spring training.
There were already a couple of players that we were aware of. You can read my deep dive on right-handed pitcher Julián Fernández here. The skinny is that he throws hard, has a nice changeup, but struggles with control and command. Furthermore, right-handed pitcher Casey Lawrence was on the 40-man roster last season, before being outrighted around the start of free agency. You can read his article here.
So what about Paul Fry, Drew Hutchison, and Rob Brantly?
The Seattle Mariners drafted the left-hander back in the 17th round of the 2013 draft, but he made his debut for the Baltimore Orioles in 2018. He spent parts of five seasons with the bad birds of the AL East, posting a career 4.82 ERA and 4.02 FIP in 177.1 innings pitched. He also has a career 24.6 K% and 12.3 BB% while sitting in the low 90s.
Fry’s best season came in the plague year, where he posted a .245 ERA and 3.69 FIP in 22 innings pitched. The 30-year-old also had a 29.6 K% and 9.2 BB%, a career best in both those numbers. He struggled with his ERA in 2021 (3.93 FIP that year), before once again having issues in 2022.
Last season, he posted a 6.23 ERA and 4.50 FIP in 13 innings pitched (one with the Arizona Diamondbacks). Fry’s K% dropped from 27.9% in 2021 to 23% this season as well.
He has options and has shown to be able to get batters out, so this is a nice pickup.
The definition of a depth catcher for Triple-A, the 33-year-old Brantly has spent the past two seasons in the New York Yankees organization, registering 24 plate appearances. For his career, he has a .225/.287/.326 slash line with seven homers in 456 plate appearances.
The last time he got a real shot was all the way back in 2013 as a member of the Miami Marlins, where he had 243 plate appearances (and a -2.1 fWAR). Since then, the most amount of big league plate appearances he’s had is 36, which he did in 2015 and 2017.
This is just a depth signing.
Yes, the Drew Hutchison that helped the Jays get: Francisco Liriano, Reese McGuire, Harold Ramirez, Teoscar Hernández, Nori Aoki, Zack Collins, Erik Swanson, and Adam Macko. That Hutchison.
The 32-year-old actually had an alright season with the Detroit Tigers in 2022, posting a 4.53 ERA and 4.93 FIP in 105.1 innings pitched. While he had a low K% of 14.7%, and his BB% of 9.1% was higher than his career average, he was a solid fifth starter for the awful Tigers.
The fifth spot in the rotation is up for grabs, but it seems that Hutchison is just a depth piece who’ll pitch for the Buffalo Bisons next season, similar to Casey Lawrence.
It is nice to have him back in the organization that drafted him though.
So who makes it:
The way I see it, both Paul Fry and Julián Fernández have a shot at making the big league team in 2023. The Jays already have seven of the eight spots in the bullpen locked up with good pitchers, so there’ll be many relievers fighting for that final spot.
Unless every starter and his mother are injured in 2023, it doesn’t seem likely that either Casey Lawrence or Drew Hutchison will get an opportunity to pitch for the Blue Jays, but I’ve been wrong before.
As for Brantly, he appears to be in case of an emergency, and the backup catcher to Stevie Berman for Buffalo.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D.
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