Torii Hunter Rumors
The Tigers have agreed to sign Torii Hunter to a two-year deal, the team announced. The Reynolds Sports Management client will earn $26MM from 2013-14. To the Tigers, it's a worthwhile investment.
“Torii Hunter is a quality major league player who is a tremendous addition to the Tigers organization both on and off the field,” Tigers president and GM Dave Dombrowski said in a statement released by the team. “He continues to be a consistent contributor at the plate, in the outfield and on bases, and we feel Torii is a great fit for our lineup.”
Hunter joins a Tigers lineup that includes Austin Jackson, Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. The Tigers view Hunter as a number two hitter, Rosenthal reported yesterday. The 37-year-old figures to play right field for Detroit with Jackson in center and an internal option -- perhaps Andy Dirks or Avisail Garcia -- in left.
Hunter posted a .313/.365/.451 batting line with 16 home runs in 584 plate appearances as the Angels' right fielder last year. Advanced metrics valued his performance above five wins, but he didn’t obtain a qualifying offer from Los Angeles. Perhaps wary of his age and league-best .389 batting average on balls in play, the Angels let Hunter leave without compensation. That’s a bonus for the Tigers who don’t have to surrender a draft choice to add their longtime AL Central rival.
Hunter ranked 20th on MLBTR's list of the offseason’s top 50 free agents. I predicted he would sign in Detroit and wrote today that Hunter would be a good fit in the team’s outfield at the right price. So far five contestants in MLBTR’s Free Agent Prediction Contest have correctly predicted the destinations of all five free agents who have signed.
This was a bit before MLB Trade Rumors' time, but it was on this day in 1886 that the first trade in Major League history took place. The Cincinnati Red Stockings acquired base-stealing outfielder Hugh Nicol and Jamie Moyer from the St. Louis Browns in exchange for rookie catcher Jack Boyle and $400. Here's some modern-day hot stove action from around the majors...
- Free agent outfielder B.J. Upton visited Turner Field today, meeting with Braves general manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman. The Braves see Upton as their top free agent target this winter, as Upton will come at a lower price than Michael Bourn.
- While the Red Sox have checked in with Josh Hamilton's agent, reports of Boston's interest in Hamilton are "overblown," a source tells WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- Ian Kinsler is willing to change positions if the Rangers ask, the second baseman tells Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Where I play on the field is not my decision. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team win regardless of where I am on the field or where I’m hitting in the batting order," Kinsler said. A move from second could open room for both Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus in the infield, while Kinsler could replace Hamilton in left or play first base.
- Both the Angels and the Tigers benefited from Torii Hunter signing with Detroit, opines MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian breaks down Shin-Soo Choo's trade value both in terms of what the Indians could get in return and how Choo compares to free agents currently on the market.
- The Indians' thin farm system is due to nearly a decade of poor drafts, writes Baseball America's Ben Badler.
- It seems like the White Sox will look externally to fill their hole at third base, as GM Rick Hahn told reporters (including MLB.com's Scott Merkin) that "we are exploring a lot of options that we rank ahead of moving [Dayan] Viciedo in from the outfield," though he didn't completely rule it out.
- With five notable Marlins on their way to Toronto, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at how players face large tax increases when they're dealt away from Florida, including a past instance of a player (Carlos Delgado) having tax protection written into his contract in lieu of a no-trade clause from the Marlins.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports examines how the Marlins/Blue Jays trade and Hunter's signing will impact other teams and players around baseball.
Reds GM Walt Jocketty spoke to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer about some of the free agent names connected to his club this winter...
- The Reds' first priority is trying to find a leadoff hitter, though Jocketty said that Michael Bourn is too expensive for his club and the same could be true about Angel Pagan. Jocketty said that the team hasn't contacted Pagan yet and "not that we wouldn’t but I wonder about the money.”
- Jocketty confirmed that the Reds have talked to Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Madson about returning to Cincinnati, while the team has also spoke to free agent Joakim Soria. Broxton is the only one of the trio who would be able to pitch on Opening Day, as Madson and Soria are both recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Reds are likely one of the eight contenders who Soria's agent, Oscar Suarez, says has shown interest in his client.
- The Reds talked to Torii Hunter's agent "but the money was too much," Jocketty said. The general manager doubted that Hunter's two-year, $26MM contract with the Tigers would impact Ryan Ludwick's price since "they're different kind(s) of players." The Reds have had "preliminary" talks with Ludwick about a new deal.
- Jocketty told FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi last week that the Reds could deal one of their shortstops (Zack Cozart and Didi Gregorius) if the right deal came along, but Jocketty said that neither player is being shopped. "We’re not taking offers,” Jocketty said. “That gets out and then we have to call Cozart and call Didi.”
- The Reds have no plans to extend Jay Bruce's contract. "We control him for five more years,” Jocketty said. “It’s so far off. It’s something we haven’t talked about.” Matt Sosnick, Bruce's agent, raised the possibility of an extension beyond 2016 for his client earlier today.
With Torii Hunter joining the club on a two-year deal, the Tigers will now focus on re-signing Anibal Sanchez according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. They're unlikely to pursue another big name pitcher if they can't bring the right-hander back, however. Here's the latest from the American League, starting with some more on Hunter...
- Hunter told teams he wasn't interested in talking to them unless things didn't work out with the Tigers, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- The Yankees saw Hunter as a good fit but never made him an offer, reports Erik Boland of Newsday (on Twitter). They don't have any offers out to position players at the moment and are focused on re-signing Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera.
- Hunter would have taken less than $26MM he received from Detroit to re-sign with the Angels, but a one-year contract was a non-starter at any price according to Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).
- Knobler listed the pros and cons of trading David Price just a few hours after the left-hander took home the Cy Young Award. Some people with the Rays even identified the Rangers as the ideal trade partner.
- The Red Sox won't alter their rebuilding plan in the wake of the Blue Jays-Marlins blockbuster, said GM Ben Cherington to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. "We know we have a plan this offseason and we're going to see how much we can execute it ... We've started that and we'll continue to do that," said Cherington, who mentioned he found out about the blockbuster through MLBTR.
Torii Hunter has been one of this offseason's most popular players so far, and yesterday we learned that as many as 13-14 teams have interest in signing him. He's expected to pick a new team within two weeks and will likely part ways with the Angels. The Tigers appear to be his most aggressive suitor. Here are today's rumors on Hunter, with the latest updates up top...
- "He wants to play (with the Tigers)," said a source to CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. Detroit has not made a contract offer yet but it could come soon.
- Hunter is visiting with Tigers officials in Detroit today, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi says they are prepared to make him a multiyear offer, and there's a good chance Hunter will sign with the defending AL champs unless the Rangers make a late push (Twitter links).
- "I’d say there’s little shot," said a source to Mark Feinsand of The New York Daily News when asked if Hunter could wind up with the Yankees.
- Many teams view Hunter as a potential number two hitter, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). He hit .343 with an .854 OPS in 381 plate appearances sandwiched between Mike Trout and Albert Pujols this season.
In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney lists some free agents who are trending upward as the market begins to take shape, including J.P. Howell, Jonathan Broxton, Cody Ross, Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Saunders, Ryan Ludwick, Jason Grilli, Sean Burnett, and Jeff Keppinger. Here are the rest of Olney's rumors...
- There has been substantial interest in Broxton so far, and it appears he could receive one of the largest contracts of the relief market.
- A team in desperate need of rotation help could move aggressively on Guthrie, and Olney wonders if his AL East track record with the Orioles makes him attractive to the Blue Jays.
- Torii Hunter's decision seems to be coming down to a choice between the Rangers and Tigers. Here are today's Hunter rumors.
- The Mariners are ready to pursue a big name free agent, but the stakes are high after the Chone Figgins fiasco. "They know they can't be wrong on the next one," said a source to Olney.
As many as 13-14 teams have checked in on Torii Hunter, and the 37-year-old is likely to play for a new team in 2013, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports. The Tigers, Rangers and Braves are being the most aggressive, according to Miller's sources.
Miller reports that back on Sept. 17, the Angels made Hunter a token one-year offer worth $5MM. That number didn't sit well with Hunter:
"They never offered me anything worth considering," Hunter says. "It actually was very disrespectful, what was offered."
Prior to the Angels' modest offer, Hunter was open to re-signing with the team for less, according to Miller, but that bridge appears to have been burned. Hunter says that he isn't looking to break the bank, and he's more concerned with winning a World Series ring for a "fair" price. Whether that pursuit of a championship comes in the American League or National League doesn't seem to matter to Hunter:
"I'm open," Hunter said. "If the National League has a team that's going to win, I'm all for it."
Hunter has already spoken with his close friend Jason Heyward about the Braves, who are a clear fit for the former Gold Glover. As Miller notes, Hunter grew up in Arkansas watching the Braves on a regular basis. Earlier today, it was reported that the Braves were among the teams that were very interested in Hunter. The Tigers, Rangers and Yankees are also mentioned in that report, and the Red Sox have been linked to Hunter as well. The Dodgers, however, appear to be out of the discussion.
The latest on the Dodgers, who are in the midst of their first offseason under new ownership...
- The Dodgers are out on Torii Hunter, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. The Braves, Rangers and Tigers all still have interest in Hunter, who appears to prefer an AL team.
- GM Ned Colletti told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Dodgers are prioritizing the international market again under the team’s new ownership. “One area we really needed to accent immediately was international operations,” Colletti said. “We couldn’t wait another year to get involved there.” The Dodgers recently won the negotiating rights to Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu with a bid of $25.7MM.
- The Dodgers announced that they signed six international scouts, including Patrick Guerrero. The team also announced that they hired former MLB catcher Josh Bard as a special assistant.
- Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wonders which top free agent will sign next. Zack Greinke and Hiroki Kuroda seem like candidates to sign in the relatively near future, according to Davidoff, who believes that the Dodgers will bring Kuroda back to Los Angeles.
1:08pm: The Braves have interest in Hunter, but it appears he'll re-sign with an American League team, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter). The Tigers are the frontrunners for Hunter, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports (on Twitter).
12:52pm: The timeframe for a decision is about two weeks, Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports. The Tigers have been most aggressive in their pursuit of Hunter and seem most likely to offer a two-year contract. The Yankees have also shown serious interest.
The Tigers are “very interested” in Hunter, Knobler writes. They see him as a near-perfect fit for their team, on and off of the field. Detroit has prioritized corner outfield help this winter. The Rangers also have interest in Hunter, who lives in Texas, relatively close to Rangers Ballpark.
The market for Hunter seems strong, with the Red Sox, Dodgers and Yankees also interested. Knobler suggests the Braves and Phillies are also possible fits. The Angels did not make Hunter a qualifying offer, which means he’s not linked to draft pick compensation. Tim Dierkes ranked Hunter 20th among the top 50 free agents available.
The Dodgers have been said to have interest in free agent outfielder Torii Hunter, but their level of interest may have been overstated, according to Dylan Hernandez and Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The team met with Hunter’s agent at the GM meetings this week, but a source says that it was Hunter’s agent who initially reached out to the Dodgers, not the other way around. Since the Dodgers won't move Andre Ethier, Hunter's only possible role would be as a fourth outfielder and the veteran isn't terribly interested in doing that. Hunter's agent has also talked with the Tigers, Rays, Yankees, and Phillies and tells clubs that his client wants a multi-year contract. Here's more from around baseball..
- MLB.com's Thomas Harding writes that Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey isn't sure whether the club will trade him this winter if they can't reach agreement on a contract extension, but his preference is to stay in New York.
- The Mets don't want to go to arbitration with Andres Torres, but the club has not ruled out bringing him back for 2013, a source tells Dan Martin of the New York Post. Torres would be in line for a slight raise over the $2.7MM he earned last season through arbitration, but the club could bring him back at a more reasonable price. I profiled Torres as a non-tender candidate back in September.
- The Yankees have faith they can make deals with pitchers Mariano Rivera, Hiroki Kuroda, and Andy Pettitte, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. When it comes to Kuroda, the Yanks see Japan as a bigger threat to pull him away than teams like the Red Sox or the Dodgers.
- The weak crop of catchers on this year's open market could yield a high return for the Red Sox if they trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia, writes Tim Britton of The Providence Journal.