Tommy Hunter missed most of last season after undergoing elbow surgery for the first time in his career. The injury ended his season and appeared to have ended his Phillies career prematurely as his contract ran out at the end of the 2019 season. Instead of going elsewhere, Hunter opted to re-sign with the Phillies, getting a one-year, incentive laden deal for 2020.
If Hunter, 33, can return to form, he could become a key component in the bullpen for Philadelphia. Prior to the 2018 season, the Phillies signed Hunter to a two-year, $18-million deal based off his career performance. At the time, Hunter had amassed a career mark of 51-40 with a 4.13 ERA in 378 games – 303 of which were as a reliever. In 2017, he posted a 3-5, 2.61 mark in 61 relief appearances with Tampa Bay and followed that up by going 5-4, 3.80 with four saves with the Phillies in 2018. Last season, he pitched in just five games for Philadelphia.
Hunter needed mid-season surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow and after rehabbing during the offseason, is just slightly behind schedule in Phillies camp. It’s likely that Hunter will be available to join the Phillies bullpen either for opening day or shortly after. Hunter told reporters that during the surgery, doctors checked out the rest of his elbow and reported that the ligaments appear to be in very good shape and saw no cause for concern outside of the tendon injury.
The deal with the Phillies is for one season and will guarantee Hunter $875-thousand, but there are undisclosed incentives – likely based on the number of games he pitches and the number of days he’s active – that could earn him another $1.4-million.