Tommy Hunter Rumors

Cubs Acquire Tommy Hunter For Junior Lake

The Cubs have acquired right-hander Tommy Hunter from the Orioles, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. ESPN’s Buster Olney adds that outfielder Junior Lake will go back to Baltimore in the deal.

[RELATED: Cubs Acquire Dan Haren]

Hunter, 29 this month, has a 3.63 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 0.60 HR/9, and 46.3% groundball rate in 60 2/3 innings for the Orioles this year. Hunter joined the Orioles four years ago along with Chris Davis, in a trade with the Rangers for Koji Uehara. Since 2013, he has a 3.05 ERA in 191 2/3 innings out of the Orioles’ bullpen. He’s earning $4.65MM this year, and will become a free agent after the season. He’s the lone addition to a Cubs bullpen that includes Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Jason Motte, Justin Grimm, Rafael Soriano, and James Russell.

Lake, 25, has struggled in the Majors with a .241/.283/.380 career line. He has played well at Triple-A this year, with a .315/.404/.472 line in 231 plate appearances. Prior to the 2013 season, back when Lake was still an infield prospect, Baseball America said he had “tantalizing tools and inconsistent performance.” If Lake does become a useful big leaguer, he’ll be a late bloomer. He’s the second outfielder the Orioles acquired today, as they made a bigger splash earlier by acquiring Gerardo Parra from the Brewers.


Orioles Weighing Gerardo Parra, Ben Revere; Discussing Tommy Hunter With Cubs

The Orioles are looking at a pair of left-handed hitting outfielders in Gerardo Parra of the Brewers and Ben Revere of the Phillies, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. The club was talking about a deal involving minor league hurler Zach Davies (in addition to other pieces). Baltimore already has Travis Snider and David Lough as left-handed options in the corner outfield, but has long been said to be looking at new options.

Confirming and building on that report, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says Baltimore is indeed pursuing talks on both Parra and Revere (Twitter links). Baltimore is also working on a deal with the Cubs involving reliever Tommy Hunter, per the report. The team would look to save some cash (around $1.5MM) while adding a minor leaguer from Chicago. The 29-year-old has been a steady contributor in the pen, though he failed in an early stint as the team’s closer last year.

The O’s would presumably put some of the savings achieved on Hunter, should that deal come to fruition, towards a new outfielder. Parra ($6.24MM annual salary) and Revere ($4.1MM) would both cost Baltimore a fairly tidy sum to field the rest of the way, in addition to whatever the acquisition cost would be from their respective clubs. Both are different players who represent different kinds of assets: Parra is a better defender with decent pop (particularly this year), and is a pure rental, while Revere is a singles hitter with outstanding speed who can be controlled for two more seasons.


Stark’s Latest: Giants, Hamels, Price, Orioles, Gallardo, Alvarez

The latest deadline rumblings from Jayson Stark of ESPN.com

  • The Giants are still searching for starting pitching, but they’re only looking at top-of-the-rotation arms to pair with Madison Bumgarner in a playoff rotation, Stark hears. San Francisco has checked in on both David Price and Cole Hamels, but they’re not considered a favorite to land Hamels from the Phillies, and there’s still no definitive sense that Price has been made available by the Tigers. Yesterday, Stark reported that the Dodgers and Rangers were emerging as the favorites in the Hamels market.
  • The Orioles are speaking with other clubs to get a feel for what kind of return they could get if they market Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, Tommy Hunter and Bud Norris, Stark hears. However, rival clubs feel the O’s will only sell if they slide to six or more games back in the Wild Card race — and they’re 3.5 games out with four to play before the deadline at this time. If they make up a bit of ground, they could add a bat, but Stark says it’d likely be a bench piece as opposed to a bigger name. Baltimore GM Dan Duquette said last week he would be a buyer regardless of the team’s play, though others have suggested that the Orioles could still end up selling if they struggle enough.
  • Adding help that can be controlled beyond 2015 is the priority for the Rangers, which is why they’re targeting Hamels, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner while also listening to offers on Yovani Gallardo. However, according to Stark, those moves aren’t linked, and Texas could acquire a rotation piece for 2016 but also hang onto Gallardo. Personally, I think Gallardo’s pitched well enough to warrant a qualifying offer. A draft pick and improved odds of making a late run (especially if they do add another rotation arm) present enough value that the Rangers shouldn’t feel obligated to simply take the best offer for Gallardo if the proposed packages aren’t all that impressive.
  • The Pirates are now likely to hang onto Pedro Alvarez after shopping him without success for several weeks. They’ve asked the Brewers, White Sox and Rays about Adam Lind, Adam LaRoche and James Loney, respectively, but with Alvarez in the fold, they’re not likely to make a move at first. Stark adds that multiple sources downplayed the recent reports connecting Pittsburgh to the Red SoxMike Napoli.


AL East Notes: Sox, Bradley, Hunter, Zobrist, O’s, Yankees, Jays

The Red Sox made their annual announcement of front office personnel changes today, and among the most significant changes is the creation of a department of behavioral health, writes Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. The Red Sox will hire Dr. Richard Ginsburg as the department head, and he will pair with former Major Leaguer Bob Tewksbury, who served as a mental skills coach with Boston from 2005-13. Tewksbury left the club for a year to work with the MLBPA, and Speier writes that his absence was noticed by young players such as Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts as they struggled to transition to everyday roles. Said GM Ben Cherington of the new department: “We’re trying to take care of the body as well as we possibly can… Health extends past the body, but it’s all related. … We’re really just trying to help players be as healthy as they possibly can be, physically and mentally.”

More from the AL East…

  • The Red Sox may have to sell low on Bradley Jr., as they did with Will Middlebrooks, writes Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com. Boston will likely trade Bradley or another outfielder before Opening Day due to the fact that they have a logjam in the outfield. Mastrodonato opines that Bradley absolutely has the upside to be an everyday center fielder in the field and at the plate — his defense is already considered among the best in baseball — and worries about the danger of moving him only to see him take off with another club. He likens Bradley to Carlos Gomez, who was slow to develop but has always possessed a good glove and is now a perennial MVP candidate in the NL. Bradley may not have that type of power, but Cherington has told Mastrodonato this offseason that he thinks there are other clubs that will perceive Bradley as an everyday outfielder, and the Sox feel he has that ability as well.
  • Though the Orioles have not approached right-hander Tommy Hunter about an extension, the setup man tells Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore that he’s certainly open to a long-term deal to remain with the club. Hunter’s agent, Mike Moye, just wrapped up negotiation on a contract to avoid arbitration for the final time, settling on a $4.65MM salary for 2015. Hunter is one of 11 Orioles that can hit the open market next winter, and while he says he’d love to see the group stay together, he acknowledged that that the business element of the game prevents that before adding, “Let’s win this year, and worry about everything else after.”
  • Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com penned a column with multiple Orioles notes, including the fact that the Orioles had definite interest in acquiring Ben Zobrist from the Rays before he was dealt to Oakland. However, the Rays brought up names such as Dylan Bundy and Chance Sisco in talks, neither of whom GM Dan Duquette was willing to surrender.
  • Kubatko also notes that the Orioles don’t appear to have interest in a reunion with Johan Santana, and there’s nothing hot between the O’s and Colby Rasmus at this time. Baltimore’s interest hasn’t waned, but they’re maintaining the same level and don’t appear willing to go beyond their comfort zone to add him to the roster.
  • The Yankees are wise to have looked at the big picture this offseason rather than focusing on the immediate, opines Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. Historically speaking, the Yankees have lived largely in the present, doling out large contracts with little regard for the potential negatives at the end of a deal. However, despite needs in the rotation, the Yankees have stayed out of the Max Scherzer market and haven’t been seriously connected to James Shields or Cole Hamels. Rather, the club is prioritizing defense and a strong bullpen. While their 2015 outlook may not have improved much, Castrovince writes, the team is in a better place in the long-term due to exercising caution.
  • Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith hosted a Blue Jays chat with readers today and covered a wide variety of hot stove topics. To name a few, Ben noted that he doesn’t foresee a reunion with Casey Janssen, that he expects Dioner Navarro to open the season with the club and that he believes the team will end up acquiring a new closer prior to Spring Training.

Orioles Avoid Arbitration With Tommy Hunter

The Orioles have avoided arbitration with Tommy Hunter, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. The righty will earn $4.65MM next year, just a quarter million over the projection of MLBTR/Matt Swartz.

Hunter, 28, presented something of an odd arb case in his final year of eligibility. After entering the year as Baltimore’s closer, with a $3MM salary, Hunter notched 11 saves but failed to keep the job. Nevertheless, he ended the season with 60 2/3 innings of 2.97 ERA pitching, with 6.7 K/9 against just 1.8 BB/9. And he racked up 12 holds to add to the counting stat tally.

After opening his career in a starting role with the Rangers, thus bolstering his earlier arb cases with wins and innings, Hunter transitioned to the bullpen. He has remained purely a reliever over the last two campaigns with the O’s, and certainly figures to continue in that capacity in his upcoming age-28 season.


Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

We'll keep track of today's smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post. Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections.

Today's noon CT deadline to exchange arb figures has passed, but negotiations to avoid an arbitration hearing can continue into February. The Braves are the only strict "file and trial" team that did not agree to terms with all of its arb-eligible players, meaning they could be headed for several hearings. The Nats and Indians have also shown a willingness to go to a trial and still have some players unsigned. On to today's contract agreements…

  • After exchanging numbers, the Mets and pitcher Dillon Gee have agreed to settle at the midpoint of $3.625MM, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Swartz projected Gee to earn $3.4MM.
  • The Cubs have avoided arbitration with reliever Pedro Strop, president Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). He will earn $1.325MM next year, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. It is not immediately apparent whether the deal was reached before the sides exchanged terms.
  • The Angels have reached agreement on a $3.8MM deal with reliever Ernesto Frieri, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter). 
  • Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter links). The deal came before figures were exchanged, Bowman notes.
  • Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the D-Backs and lefty Joe Thatcher have avoided arb with a one-year, $2.375MM deal (Twitter link).
  • Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Angels and Fernando Salas reached an agreement to avoid arbitration. Salas is the first Halos player to avoid arb. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Salas will earn $870K, which beats out his $700K projection.
  • MLB.com's Jason Beck reports (via Twitter) that the Tigers and righty Al Alburquerque have reached agreement on a deal to avoid arb. The hard-throwing righty will earn $837.5K in 2014, tweets Beck.
  • Sherman tweets that the Yankees and Ivan Nova avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal.
  • The Pirates and Vin Mazzaro inked a one-year, $950K deal in lieu of an arbitration hearing, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
  • The Royals announced that they've avoided arbitration with infielder Emilio Bonifacio. Heyman tweets that Bonifacio will earn $3.5MM in 2014.
  • Sherman reports that the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeremy Hellickson and Sean Rodriguez (Twitter link). Hellickson landed a $3.625MM payday with a $25K bonus if he hits 195 innings pitched. Rodriguez will get $1.475MM with a $25K bump for hitting 300 plate appearances.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
  • MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that Jason Castro and the Astros have avoided arbitration. McTaggart adds in a second tweet that Jesus Guzman avoided arb as well. Heyman reports that Castro will be paid $2.45MM, while Sherman tweets that Guzman will make $1.3MM.
  • The Indians tweeted that they've avoided arb with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that he'll earn $1.375MM in 2014. Bastian adds that Scrabble will earn an additional $25K for appearing in 55 games and another $25K for 60 games.
  • The Giants avoided arbitration with Yusmeiro Petit, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams (on Twitter).  He'll earn $845K, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).

(more…)


Orioles, Tommy Hunter Avoid Arbitration

The Orioles announced that they've avoided arbitration with right-hander Tommy Hunter (Twitter link). The sides agreed to a one-year contract worth $1.82MM, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).

Hunter, 26, had been arbitration eligible for the first time. The Moye Sports Associates client posted a 5.45 ERA in 133 2/3 innings as a starter and reliever for Baltimore in 2012. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz correctly ancipated that Hunter's salary would fall in the $1.8MM range.

Baltimore has seven remaining arb eligible players, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows: Chris Davis, Jason Hammel, Jim Johnson, Brian Matusz, Darren O'Day, Troy Patton and Matt Wieters. The Orioles are nearing a deal with Matusz.


Platform Years For First-Time Eligible Starters

Clayton Kershaw's salary jumped from $500K to $7.5MM this year, and it wasn't just because of his Cy Young performance. Kershaw qualified for arbitration for the first time in his career over the winter, so he obtained the right to establish his salary by comparing his production to that of his peers.

James McDonald (Pirates) - PW

Though $7MM raises are reserved for elite performers like Kershaw, many first-time eligible starting pitchers will see their salaries rise from $500K or so to $2-4.5MM this coming offseason. A player’s case depends in large part on his career numbers, but his most recent season, or platform year, matters a great deal. 

Advanced statistics like xFIP, wins above replacement and swinging strike rate don't generally figure in to arbitration cases. Instead, traditional stats such as innings, starts, wins and ERA determine players' salaries.

With one third of the season now complete, let’s check in on the prominent starting pitchers on track to be first-time arbitration eligible this coming offseason:

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AL Central Notes: Hunter, Thornton, Rauch, Indians

The American League Central welcomed a handful of new players this week – most notably right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. Yet many other trades didn't materialize. Here are the details on some deals that could have impacted the division…


Orioles Notes: Jones, Guthrie, Hunter

The Orioles sent Koji Uehara to Texas and are close to sending Derrek Lee to Pittsburgh. Here's the latest news out of Baltimore on the last night before this year's trade deadline…

  • Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is not available, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
  • The Orioles aren't seeing offers they like for Jeremy Guthrie and will likely hang onto him, while adding the newly-acquired Tommy Hunter to the rotation, according to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (on Twitter).