FEB. 22: Hunter’s deal comes with a $1.4MM base in the Majors and another $1.5MM worth of incentives available to him, tweets FanRag’s Jon Heyman.
FEB. 16, 9:41am: The two sides have an agreement in place, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (on Twitter).
9:28am: The Rays are closing in on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Tommy Hunter, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). An agreement with the Moye Sports Associates client could be finalized today, he adds.
The 30-year-old Hunter, long a member of the division-rival Orioles’ bullpen, split last season between Cleveland and Baltimore, pitching to a combined 3.18 ERA with 6.1 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 49.5 percent ground-ball rate. Hunter opened the 2016 season on the shelf due to offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia, and he also missed a stretch of time this past summer after suffering a non-displaced fracture in his back in a fall at his home during the 2016 All-Star break.
Over the past four seasons, Hunter has worked to a collective 3.24 ERA and averaged 6.8 strikeouts against 1.8 walks per nine innings across 241 1/3 frames with the Orioles, Indians and Cubs. He’d bring another experienced right-handed arm to a crowded Tampa Bay bullpen mix. Currently, the Rays are set to deploy Alex Colome, Brad Boxberger, Danny Farquhar, Shawn Tolleson and Erasmo Ramirez as right-handed options out of the ’pen, with Xavier Cedeno lined up as the team’s primary left-handed option.