According to a recent report from The New York Post, Tommy Hunter was on the verge of signing a deal with the New York Yankees. The deal, according to the report, would have been for two years and worth as much as $12 million before the Yankees backed out at the last second over concerns about Hunter's physical. Hunter instead signed with the Indians last Friday for a one-year, $2 million deal.
The New York Post's report includes a quote from Chris Antonetti, who seems confident in Hunter's health:
"Prior to signing Tommy, we did a complete physical and we were comfortable moving forward with the agreed-upon terms," Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said by phone on Thursday. "We realize [Hunter] is going to be delayed because of the offseason core surgery, but we think he will be back in the first part of the season and impact our team when he returns."
Hunter has shown a tendency to induce groundballs in recent seasons (50% in 2014, 44.9% in 2015) which would mesh well with the revitalized defense of the Indians that now features Gold Glove-caliber defenders Giovanny Urshela and Francisco Lindor on the left side of the infield. Hunter's walk rate increased to 5.6 percent last season -- the highest it has been since 2010 when he was a member of the Texas Rangers -- and his earned run average jumped to 4.18 as a result.
If Hunter does return to his 2014 form, when he finished the year with a 3.15 FIP and an 18.7 percent striekout rate, the Indians could come away with an absolute steal -- especially if he was on the cusp of signing a deal for $10 million more just a short time earlier.