A blast from the past is back with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Drew Hutchison, the franchise’s 2015 Opening Day starter, inked a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays on Friday, the team announced via social media.
Toronto also signed right-handers Casey Lawrence — returning for a third straight season — and Julian Fernández, left-hander Paul Fry and catcher Rob Brantley. All five players have also received invitations to spring training.
OFFICIAL: We've signed the following free agents to Minor League deals with invites to Spring Training. pic.twitter.com/t9bE8koWTM
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) January 6, 2023
Hutchison was drafted in the 15th round by Toronto in 2009, appearing in three and a half big-league seasons from 2012-16. The 32-year-old made 76 career appearances, posting a 4.92 ERA, a 4.23 FIP and 374 strikeouts across 406.1 innings.
The Lakeland, Florida, native was infamously part of a 2016 deadline trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates that brought left-hander Francisco Liriano, catcher Reese McGuire and outfielder Harold Ramírez to the Blue Jays. And what a steal that proved to be for Canada’s lone MLB franchise.
Hutchison’s tenure with the Pirates organization spanned less than two seasons, as he was granted free agency after the 2017 season. Afterwards, the often-injured hurler bounced around between the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees before landing with the Detroit Tigers in 2021.
After logging just 21.1 major-league innings in his first campaign with Detroit, Hutchison occupied a much larger role last season, compiling 105.1 innings over 18 starts and 10 relief appearances with the Tigers. The veteran righty wasn’t overly effective, though.
The 6-foot-3 pitcher went just 3-9, registering a 4.53 ERA and a 4.93 FIP, with his 5.38 xERA prompting even more concern. He also produced a 14.7 percent strikeout rate and a 9.1 percent walk rate, making himself worth 0.1 fWAR.
Hutchison’s days as a regular big-league contributor are long gone. But with plenty of uncertainty surrounding Toronto’s fifth starting rotation spot, he could return to the majors if Yusei Kikuchi or Mitch White underperform. And there’s no such thing as too much pitching depth.
Pitchers and catchers will report next month to the organization’s complex in Dunedin, Florida, with the Blue Jays’ first spring training game scheduled against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Feb. 25.
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