9:21am: The Orioles, Royals and Twins remain in the mix for Hunter, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). However, he too hears that the Rangers are making a push to sign Hunter. It’s perhaps worth noting that Hunter resides in Texas in the offseason.
9:08am: The Rangers have been making a push to sign free agent outfielder Torii Hunter, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney (Twitter link). Olney tweeted yesterday that the Rangers were continuing their talks with the Reynolds Sports Management client, and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News wrote last night that the Rangers were aggressively pursuing Hunter.
The 39-year-old Hunter would presumably fill the space that has been vacated by Alex Rios and join an outfield mix that also features Shin-Soo Choo and Leonys Martin. As Olney points out, Hunter’s right-handed bat would help to balance out a Rangers lineup that currently leans pretty heavily to the left side. Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Robinson Chirinos are the only projected regulars that bat from the right side. Andrus offers little in the way of power, and Chirinos has little track record as a 30-year-old with just one full season under his belt.
Hunter has been linked to a large number of teams, including the Orioles, Mariners, Royals and Twins of late. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that Hunter plans to make his decision soon, and Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that Hunter’s preference is still to sign with a contender.