After the Marlins signed new closer Heath Bell to a three-year, $27 million contract, many assumed that they would non-tender Juan Carlos Oviedo before the December 12 deadline. That’s not the case, apparently.
Aside from amusingly referring to Oviedo as “the closer formerly known as Leo Nunez,” Marlins president Larry Beinfest said this afternoon (via Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com) that they still plan to tender him a contract. Oviedo is currently working through legal issues in the Dominican Republic after admitting in September to faking his identity.
Oviedo figures to make $5-6 million as a fourth-time arbitration-eligible player, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Marlins to keep him around as an overpriced set-up man. The most likely scenario is that they’ll attempt to see if there are any takers before next week’s non-tender deadline. And given his complicated legal status and the number of free agent closer-types available, that’s probably a longshot.
Update (8:40 PM ET): Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Hunter’s contract with the Phillies is for two years.
There’s been a bit of confusion at the Winter Meetings. First, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were close to signing free agent reliever Addison Reed. That report was then disputed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer then reported that not only do the Phillies not have a deal with Reed, they’re actually moving in on a deal with free agent pitcher Tommy Hunter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic backed up Gelb’s report, as did Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
Hunter, 31, spent the past season with the Rays, posting a 2.61 ERA with a 64/14 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings. The right-hander, a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors, should be a good addition to the Phillies’ bullpen, which also recently added Pat Neshek. Neshek and Hunter will likely work the innings just ahead of closer Hector Neris.
As for Reed, well, who knows.