LAKE BUENA VISTA — This morning I reported that Nationals manager Matt Williams sounded receptive to defensive shifts. I wonder if I put an idea in his head, because he made a doozy of one today. This was what the Nats’ infield looked like in the eighth inning today with the game tied, one out and the bases loaded:
For those scoring at home, that’s the right fielder playing second base, more or less, with three infielders on the left side against Braves’ infielder Philip Gosselin (there is a left fielder, he just got cropped out of my pic). Very bold!
Only problem: Gosselin tripled over the center fielder’s head, clearing the bases. But still, bold.
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.