The Yankees’ need for a center fielder is well known. The latest rumor making the rounds is that GM Brian Cashman will make a play to acquire Torii Hunter from the Twins.
Although his glovework hasn’t been anything special since 2001, the Yankees are after Hunter mainly to solidify their outfield defense. The 30 year-old Hunter never really developed plate discipline, but he’d still be worth a couple of wins compared to the current shell of Bernie Williams.
Hunter is under contract for 2006 at $10.75MM, and the Twins would love to get that money off the books to pursue a slugger. His 2007 club option for $12MM could be picked up by the Yanks if Hunter can remain a four win player in ’06. With his defense slipping, Hunter may try to reinvent himself as a patient slugger like Moises Alou did in 1997.
The Yankees won’t give up Robinson Cano to acquire Hunter, and Eric Duncan is out of the question. Instead, the Twins might take Andy Phillips and try him at third base. A promising young starter like Matt DeSalvo (3.02 ERA at Double A Trenton in 2005) would also be necessary. The Twins’ bounty may be less than impressive as they’re eager to shed Hunter’s salary.