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Drew Hutchison remains on Blue Jays roster due to transactional quirk

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Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Despite being called up for a one-start stint on Sunday, Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison will remain on the roster for Monday's game because of a transactional quirk known as optional waivers. The Blue Jays have confirmed that he will be optioned to triple-A Buffalo following the game today.

If a team wishes to option a player to the minor leagues more than three calendar years after he first reports to a 25-man roster, the club would have to place the player on optional waivers for 48 hours before he is allowed to be formally assigned to a minor league roster. Since Hutchison could not have been placed on waivers before he was recalled, the 48 hours would not expire until after Monday's game.

Unlike outright waivers—the kind players have to go through to go to the minor leagues if he is out of options—optional waivers are just a procedural formality; because of an unwritten "gentlemen's agreement", no team has ever claimed any players on optional waivers. In addition, optional waivers are revocable, so players can be "pulled back" from the waiver wire in the unlikelihood of a claim.

This "gentlemen's agreement" between the league's general managers is made out of convenience as no team would want to add an unneeded constraint to roster management. Indeed, former Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos once said that "open warfare" would start between two clubs if one tried to block the other from sending a player down this way.

With that said, had the Blue Jays really wanted to open up a roster spot for tonight's game, they could have designated Hutchison for assignment to immediately remove him from the 25-man roster while he clears optional waivers. Anthopoulos had used this procedure to remove Bobby Korecky (article) and Jesse Chavez (article) from the roster in the past; it is unknown why current general manager Ross Atkins did not elect to do the same.