The Philadelphia Phillies are closing in on a deal with free agent reliever Tommy Hunter, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports confirmed the agreement.
Buster Olney of ESPN initially said the Phillies were close to an agreement with free agent reliever Addison Reed, but that report was refuted by many other insiders, including Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and MLB Network, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and Gelb.
The 31-year-old Hunter compiled a 3.07 FIP and 159 ERA+ in 61 games with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017. He struck out a career-high 9.8 batters per nine innings and walked 2.1 batters per nine innings across 58.2 innings.
The right-handed Hunter was more effective against lefties (.224 wOBA) compared to righties (.278 wOBA) last season. Hunter will provide a veteran presence to the Phillies’ bullpen. Philadelphia recently signed Pat Neshek.
Hunter and Neshek are expected to pitch in the late innings before closer Hector Neris, but Hunter struggled in high leverage situations in 2017, allowing a .403 wOBA. However provided that Hunter can maintain his higher than normal strikeout rate in 2018, his swing and miss stuff would fit the profile of a seventh or eighth inning man.
As far as Reed is concerned, his status remains up in the air.
Meanwhile, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported on Tuesday that the Phillies have talked to the Kansas City Royals about their pitchers. Two starters, Danny Duffy and Jason Hammel are reportedly available, along with relievers Kelvin Herrera and Joakim Soria.