Rumors

Phillies reportedly may bring Tommy Hunter back


Tommy Hunter spent parts of two seasons with the Phillies. (Keith Allison)

As the Philadelphia Phillies look to fill out their bullpen, a familiar face may show up in Clearwater next Tuesday.

Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported Friday that he’s “hearing rumblings that Tommy Hunter may end up in Phillies camp.”

Hunter had a career year with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017, posting a 2.61 ERA in 61 appearances thanks in large part to his dominant cutter. The Phillies signed Hunter to a two-year/$18 million free-agent contract, hoping he would help solidify their bullpen as they attempted to contend again.

Instead, Hunter’s two seasons in Philadelphia proved to be disappointing.

In 65 games for the Phillies in 2018, Hunter posted a 3.80 ERA and 3.63 FIP. 2019 turned into a lost season for Hunter. He didn’t make his season debut until late June after being sidelined by a right forearm strain in Spring Training. After five – albeit scoreless – regular season appearances, Hunter needed flexor tendon surgery in late July, which ended his season. It is worth noting at that time that then-Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said that Hunter didn’t have any damage to his UCL at that time.

At the same time, while Hunter may serve as a reminder that Matt Klentak’s front office has struggled to build a consistently effective bullpen, there would be almost no risk in bringing the 33-year-old to camp. He would almost certainly come on a minor-league deal. If he’s able to be effective – or the Phillies feel like he will be at some point in 2020 – they can keep him in the organization. If not, then he would be let go.

Seranthony Dominguez, Jose Alvarez, Adam Morgan and Hector Neris are pretty certain to make the Phillies Opening Day bullpen. One of Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez – whichever isn’t the Phillies No. 5 starter – will likely join that quartet. If signed, Hunter would join a group that includes Ranger Suarez, Victor Arano, Austin Davis, Enyel De Los Santos, Edgar Garcia, Cole Irvin, Francisco Liriano, Trevor Kelley, Blake Parker, Drew Storen and Robert Stock as options to fill out the final few spots in Joe Girardi’s bullpen.

After getting burned by injuries in their a season ago, the Phillies appear to be hoping a mix of quantity and better luck will help them to build a playoff-caliber bullpen.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Gary Boose

    February 7, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Why would the Phillies change their uniform company to Nike of all firms. It’s ultra liberal and doesn’t seem to be aware that most Veterans are upset because of that company’s liberal stance.

    • jeffrey m orbach

      February 9, 2020 at 8:50 pm

      It’s MLB ,not just the Phils-Nike is making every teams uniform not just the Phils.

    • lou possehl

      February 10, 2020 at 8:31 pm

      “Most veterans” are patriotic — which means that they couldn’t possibly tolerate a President who kisses up to Vladimir Putin almost daily, withdraws troops without a clue as to what he’s doing, treats allies like sh*t, weakens NATO, and stabs our partners on the battlefield (the Kurds) in the back. Since Nike partakes in none of this traitorous behavior, just what is your problem?

      By all means — by your stupid reference to “most veterans” and “ultra liberal” Nike — let’s turn PhilliesNation into a political forum.

  2. Joe Simiriglio

    February 8, 2020 at 9:26 am

    Phillies rotation incomplete Pivetta & Velasquez,its time to move on,they aren’t starting pitchers.
    The current pen is weak. Hunter,I would put him in as a set up guy and use him in the 7,8,9 innings format.
    Phillies don’t have a quality closer.
    Kapler last year overworked the bullpen.
    It’s time to develop starters who can finish games. Quality long innings pitchers who can go nine aren’t around anymore because pitching philosophy has changed. Batters are smart, Relievers are in relief because arm strength and energy is limited.
    Baseball has erred in creating pitchers who are not true starters. Pitchers who throw gas 95+mph, only last for about 3-5 years,closers burn out average after 2 years.
    The game has changed due to overworked muscle strengthening programs that tire the pitching muscle and wear them down much faster. Get back to the pitching programs of the 30 thru 60’s and pitchers will throw a full game once again.
    Dump the sticky rules such as the Chase Utley rule and let the catcher block the ante again.
    Get rid of replays,except for homeruns and dump the commercials when their is a pitching change. The game get get back to 2 to 2.5 hours again, if starting pitchers can last 7 innings.

  3. jeffrey m orbach

    February 9, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Get the biscuits and gravy ready-Tommy’s back

    • denzen

      February 11, 2020 at 5:48 pm

      ….or as we called him; Tubby Hunter.

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