The Toronto Blue Jays have done some serious roster shuffling, optioning starter Drew Hutchison to AAA Buffalo while recalling Matt Hague and Ezequiel Carrera. Toronto’s demotion of Aaron Loup one day ago allows for both additions. Hutchison’s trip to the minors comes after his strongest start of the season for the Blue Jays, but allows for Toronto to roll with a four-man rotation over the next week and a half given their off days.
Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi was first with the news this afternoon, and while the demotion of Hutch remained very possible given the Jays’ upcoming schedule and roster needs, it does sting for the young right-hander in search of his game. He’s surely been sent down with encouragement and instructions, and by staying on his regular schedule with the Bisons, he may be able to iron out some of the mechanical issues he’s been facing.
The 29-year old Hague is the feel-good story of this transaction. Outside of appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012 and 2014, the right-handed hitter has been a career minor leaguer. He’s enjoyed a great deal of success on the farm, however, and that’s culminated in a massive 2015 for Buffalo.
Hague leads all of affiliated pro ball with 161 hits, good for a triple-slash of .348 / .427 / .482. His 30 doubles and 10 home runs have earned Hague a whopping 83 RBI at the heart of the Bisons order. He’s also collected one more walk than he has strikeouts (57:56).
Unfortunately for Hague, his age and career arc leave him in an organizational role that receives very little MLB attention. Even if he were to hit .400, Hague would continue to be passed by younger players with higher upside, which shouldn’t always be the case. Will his offensive success translate to the big club? Not at this level, surely, but I don’t anticipate him slamming into a wall. Keep in mind that Chris Colabello couldn’t even crack a professional farm system until age 28.
Both players will provide manager John Gibbons with some options in the upcoming National League series with the Phillies, Hague especially in pinch-hit roles. I’m curious if Carrera would have earned the promotion if Dalton Pompey were at full health in AAA (ankle), but admittedly, Carrera exceeded expectations in his first extended stint with Toronto.
Expect to see Hutchison back up by the end of the month, and both Hague and Carrera back on the roster after September expansions if one fails to last straight through. It’s a decisive move by the Blue Jays, but is it the right one? As always: have your say!