The Pittsburgh Pirates’ competition for the fifth starter position is now down to two with the team’s announcement that Drew Hutchison is headed to Indy.

Two years ago, Drew Hutchison was the Toronto Blue Jays’ opening day starting pitcher. This season, the righty from Lakeland, Florida may not even be on an MLB roster on opening day after the Pirates announced this morning they’ve optioned him to the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.

Hutchison joined the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 1, 2016 in a trade with the Jays for Francisco Liriano and two prospects. The deal was maligned at the time as being an incredibly lopsided salary dump and given the performances of both pitchers in Spring Training, still looks that way.

Liriano has been absolutely stellar for the Jays – going 4-4 with a 1.88 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched.

Hutch, on the other hand, went 0-3 with a 10.02 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched. His ERA was the third worst on the team, in front of only Jared Hughes and Tony Watson. Long considered a contender for that fifth starter position, the Pirates gave Hutchison plenty of chances to show his stuff – he had more game time than any other pitcher by five full innings. He got off to an okay start with the team over three outings, but as Spring Training wore on his performance faltered. Yesterday’s dismal outing against the Red Sox, (gave up nine runs on 10 hits in just 3.2 innings) seemed to be the final nail in his coffin.

Of his spring training performance he told MLB’s Adam Berry, “It’s extremely frustrating to have an opportunity and not perform to the level you expect yourself to perform to,” Hutchison said.

Bold Move

The Pirates brass should be lauded for this decision. Given how Hutch came to the team, many considered him a shoe-in to head north with the team next week, especially considering his $2.3 million salary. That GM Neal Huntington and company bucked that trend and sent the 26 year-old packing says a lot about the way they are managing the team – without an ear to outside noise and pressure and an eye only on putting together the best starting rotation possible.

And Then There Were Two

This move today, and the Pirates optioning Steven Brault to Indy yesterday, winnows the candidates for that fifth spot down to two: Tyler Glasnow and Trevor Williams. Berry offered that both could find themselves on the big league roster – one as a starter and one in the bullpen.

Stay Tuned!


Joy Frank-Collins

Joy Frank-Collins is a Communications professional who got her start writing as a journalist at a daily newspaper in southeastern Ohio. She was born in Reds country, but "found" baseball watching the 1986 Mets win the World Series. She lives in Marietta, Ohio, with her family, who all share her passion for Pirates baseball. She loves the suicide squeeze, a crisp 6-4-3 double play and catchers (especially Russell Martin). When not obsessing over baseball, Joy likes to work out, travel and drink wine. Check her out on Instagram @JoyFC