The Tigers announced Wednesday that righty Drew Hutchison, who was designated for assignment over the weekend, cleared outright waivers and elected free agency rather than accepting an assignment to the minors (presumably to Triple-A Toledo). That doesn’t necessarily preclude Hutchison from returning to the Tigers; he rejected one outright assignment earlier this year, only to return on a new minor league deal a few days later. (Newly brokered deals can include more timely opt-out opportunities, new terms, etc.)
Hutchison, 31, has tossed 24 1/3 innings for the Tigers this season, pitching to a 4.81 ERA with shaky strikeout and walk tendencies (17 strikeouts, 16 walks). He yielded five runs through 8 2/3 frames during this most recent big league stint and also carries a 2.79 ERA through 9 2/3 innings in Triple-A so far this year.
After showing some promise with the Blue Jays earlier in his career and even earning an Opening Day starter nod with Toronto, Hutchison has settled in as a journeyman starter/reliever, now having pitched for five different big league teams across the past six seasons (in addition to Triple-A stops with three other clubs). In 506 Major League innings, he has a 4.96 ERA with an even 20% strikeout rate against a roughly average 8.3% walk rate.
Hutchison sports a sub-4.00 ERA in 591 2/3 career Triple-A frames as well, making him a solid depth option to have on hand — be it for the Tigers or another club with pitching needs. Few clubs have had as many pitching injuries this year as Detroit, however, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see him return for another stint, as the path back to the big leagues is more open there than with most organizations.