BALTIMORE – Fifteen minutes before the 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, Tommy Hunter joked with a large group of reporters in front of his locker about the possibility of being traded. Fifteen minutes later, Hunter found out he was headed to the Chicago Cubs for minor league outfielder Junior Lake.
“It’s always surprising, but if your name has been in it all day, it’s not as surprising at the last second,” Hunter said. “I’m going to Chicago. See you guys.”
Hunter was 21-20 with a 4.28 ERA with the Orioles. He was acquired along with Chris Davis from Texas in exchange for Koji Uehara on July 30, 2011.
“You definitely build friendships in this game,” Hunter said. With the Orioles, he was part of two playoff teams.
“If you don’t win a World Series, you kind of failed a little bit. That’s how we think as athletes,” Hunter said. “There is some unfinished business. I wish them the best. I threw some jokes out there so it wasn’t too somber.”
He came to the Orioles as a starter, and late in 2012 was converted to a reliever. This year, he was 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 39 games.
Lake, a 25 year-old outfielder, is a .241 hitter in parts of the last three seasons with the Cubs. He hit .224 with a home run and five RBIs in 21 games for Chicago this year. He will be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Hunter will be a free agent after the season, and didn’t rule out a return.
“If they want me back…there’s not going to be any shut doors,” Hunter said. “I’m not going to stomp out of here like I didn’t like it because I loved it here.”
Hunter will report to the Cubs in Milwaukee on Saturday. The Orioles are two games out of the second wild card spot, and Chicago is battling with San Francisco for the second NL wild card spot.
“They’ve got some a chance to do some special things over here. You wish them the best and hopefully they’ll remember you when playoff shares start coming around,” Hunter said.