Longtime big league reliever Tommy Hunter has officially retired, he tells Britt Ghiroli of the Athletic (X link). Hunter first indicated he was retiring on former teammate Adam Jones’ podcast in October, news that eluded MLBTR at the time.
Hunter, 37, pitched parts of 16 seasons in the majors. The Rangers selected the University of Alabama product in the supplemental first round of the 2007 draft. He got to the big leagues the following August. Operating as a starter for three seasons, Hunter compiled a 4.36 ERA before being dealt alongside future home run champ Chris Davis to the Orioles for Koji Uehara.
While Davis turned out to be the star of that return, Hunter was a very productive player for Baltimore in his own right. He struggled as a starter over the next season and a half but found a new gear upon moving to the bullpen in 2013. The right-hander turned in consecutive sub-3.00 ERA showings while surpassing 60 innings in 2013 and ’14, combining for a 2.88 ERA over that stretch.
Hunter found himself in another deadline trade in 2015. As an impending free agent on an average Baltimore team, he was flipped to the Cubs in a swap for outfielder Junior Lake. Hunter bounced around as a middle reliever from that point forward, suiting up with the Indians, Orioles again, Rays and Phillies through 2020. He saw action with the Mets in each of the past three seasons. Hunter was generally effective for the majority of that time, although he finished with a 6.85 ERA in 23 2/3 innings before New York released him this past June.
In the decade after his move to the bullpen, he allowed 3.33 earned runs per nine in 410 appearances with six franchises. Hunter never posted huge strikeout tallies, but he had consistently strong command and turned in five seasons with 50+ innings and an ERA below 4.00. He was part of the 2010 Texas team that won the American League pennant and started Game 4 of that year’s Fall Classic, allowing two runs over four innings in a 4-0 loss.
For his career, Hunter posted a 4.07 ERA across 917 1/3 frames. He recorded 639 punchouts, won 56 games, picked up 103 holds and collected 22 saves. Baseball Reference calculated his career earnings in the $36MM range. MLBTR congratulates Hunter on his productive, very lengthy run at the highest level and wishes him the best in his post-playing days.