Jays From the Couch brings you the latest news and links about the Toronto Blue Jays. This time: Aaron Sanchez, Rumors and Drew Hutchison
For the Toronto Blue Jays, pitchers and catchers report on February 15th, with the whole gang coming in on the 18th. Spring Training is so close, you can almost reach out and touch it. As the days inch closer, you can expect that there will be a few minor moves done to fill out the AAA roster and provide depth for the big league club. And, there will be a sprinkling of other stories thrown in for good measure. Here are some:
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* This is the time of year where we should expect to see minor league deals aplenty. The organization has a AAA roster to round out as well, so not every deal with impact the big league club, though it has potential. The Blue Jays added some pitching depth on Monday by agreeing to minor league deal with right hander, Lucas Harrell. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith says that the 31 yr old pitcher will be added as starting depth to add to the options beyond the current starting rotation that was oh, so good in 2016, but has a cloud of ‘what if’ hanging over its head.
Harrell is coming off a season where he appeared in 9 games (as a starter) in total between the Tigers’ system, Atlanta and Texas. His numbers are not all that hot, which would explain the minor league deal, obviously. His 10% walk rate compared to his 20% K rate are not inspiring, to say the least. Though, normally, his groundball rate is above 50%, 2016 (44.3%) not withstanding, which is nice, if you can look past his flyball rate of 33% coming into the Rogers Centre.
* At Bleacher Report, Danny Knobler argues that Aaron Sanchez very well could be stepping toward Cy Young contention this coming season. While the content of the piece is more of a profile of Sanchez, which would likely serve as an introduction of sorts for those not familiar with the righty with a tantalizing fastball and a sexy curve.
But, one of the interesting parts of the BR piece is the look at whether agent, Scott Boras, will get in the Blue Jays collective ears about the long term health of his newest client. And, there are those who would expect such meddling. But, as Knobler points out, Sanchez has already reached 200 innings and has not had the dreaded TJ surgery, like other Boras clients. In short, the super agent has no reason to make this an issue. Instead, he should just sit back and let Sanchez do his thing and look forward to what the future payday will look like. That won’t be an issue until 2021, though.
* Writing for MiLB.com, Rob Fai brings us a bit of a touching piece on Vancouver Canadians’ partner, Jeff Mooney and his wife, Suzanne Bolton, donating $75,000 to set up a scholarship fund. The announcement came at the Blue Jays’ affiliate Canadians Hot Stove Luncheon where Paul Beeston and Joe Biagini were in attendance. The fund will provide 5, $15,000 scholarships to members of the Boys and Girls club of South Coast, BC.
* While we already broke down why the Blue Jays’ interest in- or discussions of- David Robertson doesn’t really make a lot of sense, MLBTR’s Connor Byrne reminds us of another part of the original Nick Cafardo Blue Jays musings. Guilty of dismissing it out of hand, we’ll go back and touch on the apparent interest Toronto had in Matt Weiters, the free agent catcher, and former member of the Baltimore Orioles.
So, yeah…this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you think about Russell Martin already manning the dish for the Blue Jays. Then, if you add in that they are already set at just about every other position Weiters would play. Now, if the club had interest before signing Kendrys Morales, or even Steve Pearce at first base, this “interest” might make a bit more sense. But, one would have to think that even then, Toronto would not give Weiters much thought. And, for his part, the player would not have considered an offer to be a backup (platoon?) catcher back in November.
*Finally, in skimming across various timelines, I came across a post that mentioned the Pittsburgh Pirates as potential suitors for Jason Hammel, the free agent pitcher. In the piece, George Halim says the Pirates have a rotation that looks pretty good with guys like Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova, Chad Kuhl and Tyler Glasnow all playing various roles. Adding Hammel to this group would certainly provide some talented depth for the Buccos.
But, this got me thinking about a former Blue Jay, Drew Hutchison. While he had flashes of success, he couldn’t quite establish himself consistently in Toronto. I wondered if he was even being considered for a starting job in Pittsburgh after being dealt there for Francisco Liriano. If he isn’t going to start, do the Pirates stash him in AAA? Or, do they attempt to transition him to the bullpen? To get an idea of where Hutch stands with his new club, I reached out to Jason Rollison of Pirates Breakdown. Here’s what he had to say:
Pirates are enamored with his pitch selection – the fact that he has a sinker AND a slider – and that the slider has good swing and miss rates. These two factors have had him on the Pirates’ radar for a while, but may cause them to overvalue him. Still, at $2.2M, Pirates will have to decide if he’s worthy of their rotation, because they won’t want to pay Triple-A rotation depth that kind of money, and he doesn’t profile as a bullpen arm, especially in one as crowded as Pittsburgh’s
There you have it. Hutch just might be in a state of limbo at the moment.
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