The Phillies have a lot of money to spend this offseason. They won’t spend all of it this go round, but they will spend some. And the last few days, they’ve put money toward relievers. They signed Pat Neshek on Monday, and on Tuesday night, the hot stove actually got to the boiling point. No, seriously! It did!
Just after 8:00 pm, Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted this:
(Please forgive the Slack screenshot. Buster’s tweets are now gone, for reasons you’ll soon understand.)
Addison Reed! He’s not terrible! In fact, he’s been pretty good at various times over the last few years! So we had the name of a reliever, and it was a new name — not someone the Phillies had signed before. Then, Jon Heyman comes in and tries to burst our bubble.
Reed is understandably getting a lot of interest but the rumor he has something for three years with the phils at present isn’t accurate— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 13, 2017
That’s an interesting tweet. He’s obviously responding directly to Buster, but he doesn’t want to look like he’s doing that. Regardless, he said the Phillies don’t have anything going with Reed. Buster, do you want to respond? Or double down, perhaps?
So at this point, it’s obvious that either Buster’s right, or his source is screwing with him or completely out of the loop. What we needed was a trustworthy Phillies beat writer to come in and lay it down for us. And then, Matt Gelb flew in like a stately eagle, casting an angry, punishing eye on the fighting seagulls he had to come down to separate.
Source: The Phillies do not have a deal with Addison Reed. They are moving toward a deal with righthander Tommy Hunter.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) December 13, 2017
Thank you, Matt, we really needed tha— wait, did you say Tommy Hunter? Where the hell did he come from!? Weren’t we talking about Addison Reed like nine minutes ago?
We *were* talking about Addison Reed, but not anymore. Tommy Hunter had entered the picture. And just eight minutes later, after Buster had presumably read his “source” the effing riot act, he deleted the incorrect tweets and sent his mea culpa.
I was wrong: Phillies not closing on deal with Addison Reed. They are close on deal with Tommy Hunter.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 13, 2017
After this, the floodgates opened. Heyman, Jim Salisbury, and Joel Sherman all tweeted that the Phillies were close to finalizing a two-year deal with Hunter.
So why don’t we talk about Tommy Hunter for a minute? Because I thought he was at least 36, but he’s only 31. He’s just been around for a long time. He made his major league debut in 2008 with the Rangers, was traded to the Orioles in 2011, and after that bounced to the Indians, Cubs, Orioles again, and then the Rays in 2017. He hasn’t been a starter since 2012, which is great because he’s been much better as a reliever. He’s actually had two great years: in total over 2016 and 2017, he’s pitched in 94 games and 92.2 innings, notched 87 strikeouts, and gave up just seven home runs.
The deal is still being finalized, but it’ll most likely be announced in the next day or two. Or maybe it’ll end up being a deal with someone else entirely. At this point, who knows?
UPDATE, 10:23 PM:
Tommy Hunter’s two-year deal with #Phillies expected to be in $18M range, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2017
Confirming multiple reports. Phillies finalizing deal w reliever Tommy Hunter. Second vet reliever to join Phils with Neshek— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) December 13, 2017