Drew Hutchison had an encouraging first season back from Tommy John elbow surgery last year and now the Blue Jays have chosen the 25-year-old right-hander to start Opening Day.
Mark Buehrle, who may have seemed like the most obvious choice for an Opening Day assignment, is lined up to start the fourth game of the season–Toronto’s home opener.
Hutchison had an ugly 4.58 ERA in 32 starts last season, but he racked up 184 strikeouts in 185 innings in what was basically his rookie year in addition to being his first full season back after surgery.
Dayan Viciedo has opted out of his minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, who agreed to release the 26-year-old corner outfielder.
Viciedo was previously released by the White Sox in February after agreeing to a one-year, $4.4 million deal to avoid arbitration, as general manager Rick Hahn apparently had second thoughts once he realized the trade market wasn’t exactly bustling. Because it was a partially guaranteed deal, the White Sox were on the hook for “only” $733,000.
Viciedo latched on with the Blue Jays and agreed to a minor-league deal that would have paid $2.8 million if he made the Opening Day roster, but he struggled during spring training after hitting just .231 with a .686 OPS in 145 games for the White Sox last year.
He has 25-homer power, but Viciedo is terrible defensively and has no semblance of plate discipline. At this point he’d be best suited for a part-time role.
Impending free agent closer Huston Street wants to sign a contract extension with the Angels before Opening Day and the Angels are interested too, but Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that the team “could be in a holding pattern” while they await word on MLB’s punishment of Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton is under contract for $23 million this season, but if he’s suspended without pay by MLB the Angels could potentially reallocate that money and giving Street an upfront signing bonus is one possible option.
Street is without an agent, representing himself, and has said he won’t negotiate after Opening Day, so it’s possible the delayed ruling on Hamilton’s status could lead to his leaving the Angels via free agency after the season.
Street joined the Angels in mid-July, coming over in a deal with the Padres, and saved 17 games with a 1.71 ERA. Combined during the past three seasons he’s got a 1.97 ERA in 155 innings and despite seemingly being a closer forever Street is still just 31 years old.