Could Drew Hutchison Be Dangled as Trade Bait?
It’s one of the worst kept secrets in baseball this year – the Toronto Blue Jays desperately need starting pitching help.
And after disappointing results from their last two series (which featured several poor performances from their starting pitchers), that need is now more apparent than ever for the Blue Jays.
If Alex Anthopoulos is in fact going to make a move, it likely means having to part with multiple top prospects. And depending on what’s coming back in return, perhaps some players from the big league roster as well.
But rather than bring in an additional arm to the starting rotation, is there a chance the Blue Jays simply upgrade upon one of the starting pitchers they already have by trading them away?
Someone like Drew Hutchison?
It wouldn’t be the first time in recent memory that Alex Anthopoulos improved upon a current roster spot. Remember how the Blue Jays went out and signed a new catcher and acquired a third baseman this offseason, even though the need wasn’t immediately apparent?
At this point, virtually any addition to the Blue Jays’ starting rotation would provide an improvement. Sadly, Drew Hutchison has bottomed out and has failed to produce any semblance of consistency for the Blue Jays this season.
It’s odd because Drew Hutchison was pegged by many as one of the members of the starting rotation who was poised to take the next step forward as an anchor in the Jays rotation. Halfway through his 2015 campaign, he has yet to fill those shoes.
After 2015, Hutchison is still under team control for three more seasons; which may make him quite valuable to a team looking to add young pitching to their starting rotation.
If Alex Anthopoulos has the opportunity to acquire a starter with a better pedigree than Drew Hutchison, it certainly behooves him to do so. But Hutchison isn’t exactly having a stellar season, and the Blue Jays would invariably selling low on one of their promising young pitchers.
Hutchison’s home/road splits this season are very puzzling. He’s also failed to produce consecutive quality starts this season, another troubling quality from a pitcher whom the Jays were hoping would provide some consistency to their rotation.
Considering how up and down Drew Hutchison’s 2015 campaign has been thus far (and to some effect, his 2014 season as well), I’m still not entirely convinced he can be counted upon to deliver consistent results.
Sure, he’ll weave the odd gem or throw the occasional “Maddux”, but the next start he’ll labour through four or five innings and give up something like seven or eight runs.
In many ways, I see what’s happening with Drew Hutchison and it reminds me a lot of the same path that Brandon Morrow had.
Both pitchers have gone back and forth between starts of sheer brilliance and utter disappointment. At times, both Hutchison and Morrow have been utterly dominant; and both have also experienced eerily opposite home/road splits.
To me, Drew Hutchison seems like an expendable piece for the Blue Jays; but only if they get a better starting pitcher in return, and someone under team control for at least one more season.
It wouldn’t make sense to ship out Drew Hutchison for a rental unless it’s for an elite arm like Johnny Cueto. Otherwise, trading Hutchison at this point would be a counterproductive move, because then the Jays would then need to replace the innings earmarked for Hutchison in 2016.
But, if the Blue Jays can package together Drew Hutchison along with some top prospects for Sonny Grey or even Cole Hamels, then that move makes sense. That type of trade would also satisfy the needs of the other team because they’d be getting a starting pitcher back in return; albeit one of less calibre, but one who’s under team control through 2018.
Hypothetically speaking, if the Blue Jays were to trade Drew Hutchison prior to the July 31st deadline, they would not get great value for him on his own. The market for sub-5 ERA pitchers is next to nil.
The only hope is that there’s another team out there that sees value in Hutchison’s years of team control, or they see something in Hutchison which they may be able to fix. Call it the “Alex Anthopoulos of two years ago”, if you will.
I’ll fully acknowledge that giving up on Drew Hutchison is a risky move. There’s the potential for him to go to another team and blossom into the front-line starter that the Blue Jays are hoping he will.
But given the sense of urgency for the Blue Jays to do well and for them to do well right now, they may not be able to afford to continually send Drew Hutchison to the hill every five days and hope he “finds it”.
[Related: Can Drew Hutchison Take the Next Step Forward?]