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The Week in Transactions: Tribe signs Tommy Hunter and Craig Stammen

The Indians signed Tommy Hunter and Craig Stammen, two pitchers that should be key contributors in the bullpen.

Tommy Hunter
Tommy Hunter
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Tribe Transactions

February 8

Signed RHP Craig Stammen to a minor-league contract and invited him to Spring Training

Details: $1M for making the roster, $2M in incentives. Can become free agent if he doesn't make the club.

Also, his hometown of Versailles, Ohio is pronounced Ver-sales, not Ver-sigh

Stammen missed most of 2015 (right flexor tendon) after a nice three-year run in Washington's bullpen. Assuming he comes into camp healthy, he has the best of any of the NRIs of making the club. Stammen would be eligible for free agency after the season (he enters 2016 with 5.160 years of service time), so this will likely be a one-year stop for him as he tries to rebuild his value.

February 12

Signed RHP Tommy Hunter to a one-year, $2M contract

Designated C Tony Wolters for assignment

Signed C Guillermo Quiroz to a minor-league contract and invited him to Spring Training

The final two moves came as a result of the Hunter signing. But first, let's actually look at Hunter.

Tommy Hunter is a two-pitch pitcher, which is normal for a back-end reliever. At times he's closed, but usually, he's been a 7th/8th inning pitcher since moving to the bullpen in 2013 while with the Orioles. He was dealt to the Chicago Cubs at the deadline last year, but really struggled and didn't make the postseason roster. He gave up an astonishing 7 home runs in 60.1 innings of work, which could be a weakness of this year's bullpen as both Zach McAllister and Bryan Shaw also gave up at least seven round-trippers a season ago.

Hunter did have off-season "core muscle" surgery, and it's a given that he'll start the season on the 15-day Disabled List, and will probably miss a month of the season.

To make room for Hunter, the Indians finally DFAed Tony Wolters, who has really spun his wheels in recent years. By all accounts, the move to catcher has worked out defensively, but he hasn't hit at all in Akron. I think there's a good chance he makes it through waivers unless some organization is desperate for catching depth. If he does get claimed, the Indians could use another AA/AAA catcher, and thus they signed Quiroz, who has played in parts of 10 major-league seasons but almost always in 15-20 day stretches. He spent his last two seasons in the San Francisco organization mostly playing for AAA Sacramento.

Selected MLB Transactions

February 8

Arizona Diamondbacks signed RHP Tyler Clippard to a two-year, $12.25 contract

Details: $4M signing bonus, $4.1M in 2016, $4.25M in 2017

Clippard is another former National; he was dealt last winter to Oakland for Yunel Escobar, then was sent to the Mets at the trade deadline. He struggled in the postseason, particularly in the World Series, but his overall body of work was still impressive enough to get a multi-year deal.

February 9

Chicago White Sox signed RHP Mat Latos to a one-year, $3M contract

After the 2013 season, it seemed a cinch that Latos would get a mega-deal in two years. But after missed big chunks of the 2014 and 2015 season, plus the reputation of a mercurial personality has led to the White Sox getting him for a de facto minimum contract. If he's healthy and makes 30 starts, the White Sox get a bargain here. If he's even 80% as good as his Cincinnati years, this will have been the free agent bargain of the winter.

February 12

Milwaukee Brewers trade OF Khris Davis to Oakland for C Jacob Nottingham and RHP Bubba Derby

The Brewers continue their roster makeover by dealing one of their slugging outfielders. Davis is a low-OBP/high-SLG outfielder in the same mode as Brandon Moss, who the A's dealt to the Indians a year ago. The A's will have four years of control over Davis. But to upgrade their middle of the order, the A's had to give up Nottingham, who had one of the better statistical seasons of anyone in the minors. There are some questions over whether Nottingham will be able to stay behind the plate (his blocking is the issue, not his arm), but even so, I think Brewers got very good value for this deal.

Latest 25-man/40-man Roster

Google Docs link (includes past versions)

embiggened version

Feb 14 2016

As mentioned above, Hunter will start the season on the 15-day Disabled List, so technically there's just as many open spots in the bullpen as there were last week. I do think Stammen is a lock to make the club if he's healthy, though, so in reality there's really two spots up for grabs, with one of those being a temporary spot. Of course, that's assuming Terry Francona will go with a seven-man bullpen.....