Tommy Hunter is only 24 years old and already had 23 career wins for the Rangers. Coming off a 13-4 season with 3.73 era, Hunter lost his roster spot because of injury. However, coming out of the Rangers bullpen Hunter wasn't bad (after coming back from an injury), he was in fact solid. He had a 2.93 era and 1.5 VORP in 8 games out of the 'pen for the Rangers this season
For legitimate reasons the Rangers decided to make moves at the 2011 trading deadline to bolster their weak bullpen. Trading two Double-A pitchers for set-up man Mike Adams makes a great deal of sense. The Rangers get Adams for the rest of this season and for next season for only $2.5 million. Adams is rock solid with an unworldly FIP of 2.07 and a WARP of 1. The triple entente the Rangers have at the back of their bullpen now of Koji Uehara, Mike Adams, and Neftali Feliz many people believe is now an embarrassment of riches. I beg to differ on that fact.
First and foremost Feliz is not a closer and has not been good in that role at all this season. He may have 20 saves, but he also has a FIP of 4.47, (nowhere close to a solid 3.00 FIP) and an awful -2 VORP. So the fact that people believe the Rangers are now playing "6" inning ballgames with their new bullpen is ridiculous. Feliz being not very good at the back, though, gives reason to rationalize the Adams and Uehara trades. But the Uehara trade seems to be a team desperate for good bullpen help giving up too much in a mistake deal.
Koji Uehara has been very good this year, don't get me wrong he has. And most likely he will help the Rangers win some ballgames down the stretch. For the Orioles this year, Uehara boasted a 2.51 FIP and a VORP of 8.6, which would've made him the best pitcher in the Rangers bullpen if he had been with them all year. Uehara is strictly a rental; however, becoming a free agent at the end of this year, and he should be expected to get a lot of looks and receive a significant pay raise from his 3 million dollar deal this year. Tommy Hunter is not eligible to be a free agent until 2016 and is not even eligible for arbitration until after next season. Which means next year Hunter will make about an 1/8th of any deal Uehara will get on the open market.
It does not make much sense as to why the Rangers would give up on a 24 year old young arm who won them 13 games a year before in a season in which they went to the world series and a 25 year old first-baseman in Chris Davis (who hit 21 homeruns in 2009, his only season of consistent at-bats with the club) for a 36 year-old rental set-up man who is going to leave in free agency after the season.
Unless, the Rangers know that there is more to Hunter's injury issues than meets the eye, which is slightly improbable because then the Orioles would never take him, or Uehara solidifies the Rangers bullpen enough to help lead them to another world series, then this deal will be tough pill to swallow in the future for the Rangers' front office.