Right-hander Tommy Hunter is drawing interest on the free agent market, with the Padres, Tigers and Indians among the clubs teams intrigued by the former Orioles setup man, reports Rich Dubroff of CSNMidAtlantic.com. Hunter, 30 next July, split the season between the O’s and Cubs, though he enjoyed considerably more success in Baltimore than in Chicago. Hunter was surprisingly traded in exchange for Junior Lake in July after 44 2/3 innings of 3.63 ERA ball (3.38 FIP) but saw that mark soar to 5.74 (5.11 FIP) in 15 2/3 innings with the Cubs. Those late struggles notwithstanding, Hunter has a 3.26 ERA with 6.9 K/9 against just 1.7 BB/9 across 207 1/3 innings dating back to 2013, so he figures to draw further interest as the offseason wears on.
Here are a few more notes from the relief market…
- MLB.com’s Bill Ladson joins others in characterizing the Nationals’ interest in Darren O’Day as serious, though he also notes that some clubs could offer O’Day the opportunity to close games, which Washington cannot currently promise. The market for O’Day is deep, Ladson adds, but he could be a much-needed reliable setup man for the Nats, who are “looking to trade” Drew Storen.
- We’ve heard varying reports on the Nationals’ interest in shipping out Storen and Jonathan Papelbon, but Jayson Stark tweets that executives from three clubs have told him that the Nats are pushing to trade both righties. The club’s plan would be to rebuild the back of its relief corps with new acquisitions. Of course, as I explained in the Nationals’ offseason outlook, Washington is in need of pen additions regardless of what it does in the late innings.
- The Mets’ bullpen focus, meanwhile, is on adding a lefty, per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. New York seems prepared to give Josh Smoker a chance at cracking the pen after adding him to the 40-man roster. And the team has indicated interest in bringing back Jerry Blevins. But a surer thing would be preferable, says DiComo, who says the team is prioritizing the acquisition of a quality LOOGY this winter.
- Former big league lefty Mike Zagurski is hoping to return to the U.S. after pitching in Japan last season, MLBTR has learned. Zagurski has struggled in a handful of Major League chances but has a 2.68 ERA with 12.0 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9 in parts of six Triple-A seasons. The 32-year-old posted a 2.40 ERA in Japan last year, albeit in a small sample of 15 innings.