Montgomery has pitched in the big leagues in each of the past six seasons. Best known for recording the final out of the 2016 World Series as a member of the Cubs, he has settled in as a decent swing option in recent years. Since the start of 2017, the left-hander has pitched to a 4.03 ERA across 351 innings. He doesn’t miss many bats, managing just a 17.3% strikeout rate in that time. Montgomery has a decent track record of throwing strikes, though, and has induced ground balls at a strong 53.1% clip over the past four years.
The 31-year-old Montgomery entered 2020 as a member of the Royals’ rotation, but he went down with a lat strain just two innings into his first start. That knocked him out for much of the shortened season; he returned for a pair of relief appearances at the end of September before being outrighted off Kansas City’s roster.
Montgomery could compete for a spot at the back of the rotation or for a multi-inning relief role. That flexibility could prove beneficial for a New York team that’ll be without Seth Lugo to open the season due to the latter’s upcoming surgery to repair a bone spur in his elbow. At the moment, Joey Lucchesi looks the favorite to start the year in the final rotation spot behind Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman and David Peterson.
Hunter, on the other hand, is a pure reliever. The 34-year-old pitched in 24 games for the Phillies last season, working to a 4.01 ERA/3.57 SIERA across 24.2 innings. Decent showing notwithstanding, Hunter’s 91.7 MPH average fastball was down rather significantly from the mid-90’s velocity he showed at his 2013-16 peak. That drop-off, coupled with Hunter’s slightly below-average strikeout (24.5%) and swinging strike (10%) rates, likely contributed to his inability to find a guaranteed deal this winter. Nevertheless, it’s easy to envision the generally reliable veteran earning a roster spot with a decent showing in spring training.