CINCINNATI -- The Pirates removed Drew Hutchison from their 40-man roster on Friday and assigned him outright to Triple-A Indianapolis, effectively cutting ties with the 27-year-old right-hander they acquired last summer.
Given his service time, Hutchison will qualify for Minor League free agency at the end of the season. The Pirates did not call up Hutchison this month despite his Major League experience, quietly making it apparent that he was no longer in their plans.
Pittsburgh now has 39 players on its 40-man roster, but that total does not include Josh Harrison, who is on the 60-day disabled list.
Hutchison was the Pirates' lone return in the oft-debated trade that sent Francisco Liriano and two prospects, Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez, to the Blue Jays at the 2016 non-waiver Trade Deadline. At the time, general manager Neal Huntington acknowledged that moving the remainder of Liriano's three-year, $39 million contract created necessary "financial flexibility" -- which they used to retain Ivan Nova and extend David Freese -- but also said the club had interest in Hutchison.
Hutchison made six appearances, including one start, for the Pirates last September. He entered Spring Training in competition for the final spot in their Opening Day rotation, a job that ultimately went to Tyler Glasnow, then spent the entire season in Triple-A.
Hutchison earned $2.3 million from the Pirates this season and would have been eligible for salary arbitration again next year. He went 9-9 with a 3.56 ERA in 28 appearances (26 starts) for Indianapolis. He has a 30-21 record and 4.93 ERA in 82 Major League outings (74 starts).
The Pirates have plenty of young or club-controlled starting pitchers set to return next year, including all seven starters currently in their rotation: Gerrit Cole, Nova, Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl, Trevor Williams, Steven Brault and Glasnow. Right-handers Nick Kingham and Clay Holmes could join that group in 2018.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.