Shockingly Scandalous Tigers, Torii Hunter, ‘Want Each Other’

I mean, here’s the thing. The Tigers need a corner outfielder. Torii Hunter is a corner outfielder. Beside’s the fact that my spell checker wants me to change Torii to either “Tor ii”, “tor-ii”, or Tortini, he can play some pretty slick defense. He can hit a ball with a bat. His brother’s name is actually ‘Money’. All of that stuff is awesome. I’m really, really happy that Torii Hunter has an employable skill that seems to be in demand in the Detroit and Metro area, more specifically Woodward Avenue. But, as always, it’s the details that count. The details are always what make something good or bad.

As opposed to the ridiculous Justin Upton rumors that have thankfully deteriorated, these Hunter to Detroit rumors are gaining steam, not losing it. In fact, like a pair of hormone-fueled teenagers, these two ‘want each other’.

Thanks Jon, as always. (He’s more aware than you all realize, I love Jon’s humor.)

So, on Tuesday these two saw each other, in Detroit, according to Jon Morosi:

This led to an afternoon of speculation on what that meant. As we all know, when Dave Dombrowski sets his sights on a target, he usually gets what he wants. (No, there’s nothing wrong with that.) And why would Dombrowski want Hunter? Well the Tigers need some help against left handed pitching (believe it or not) and Hunter OPSd .868 and hit .340 against lefties in 2012 (.843 OPS .289 BA against LHP in 2232 career plate appearances). The Tigers also feel they need a number two hitter (even though they already have one) and in 2012 Hunter had an .854 OPS and a .343 BA in 381 plate appearances from the two hole for the Angels last year.


So basically it makes complete sense that the Tigers and Hunter want one another. I mean,  they both have wants and needs and both can satisfy those desires. Excellent. Write it up:

Hey wait. A multiyear contract? Hunter’s 33, 34, right? No. He’s 37. That’s three and seven. In baseball years that constitutes a cause for concern, even if his injury history is pretty clean. 

A one year deal would be perfect, especially for someone who has been worth roughly 4 WAR per year in his five years as an Angel. That’s worth roughly $16-20 million for a Free Agent player in his prime. Given the fact that he posted a 5.5 WAR in 2012 and has quite a few teams pursuing him (Texas, Atlanta, etc) do people really expect a 2 year $20 million deal that Tigers fans have been throwing out there?

Of course not. At least you shouldn’t.

Hunter is reportedly looking for a Carlos Beltran type deal, something in the 2 year $26 million range, that the then 34 year old outfielder signed with St. Louis in the 2011-2012 offseason. 

Given everything we’ve seen in the Free Agent market, how could you not expect him to get that? 

If Hunter posts a season like he did last year that type of contract is actually worth it, at least the first year is. The trouble comes in during the second year, of which Hunter turns 39 in the middle of July. What if the Tigers give him a third year?

This is where the Tigers enter dangerous territory and where most detractors of Hunter caution. 

We know the upsides Hunter offers. Defense. Decent bat. Clubhouse Presence (something I can’t really acknowledge as a huge impact, I mean, the Tigers did get to the World Series with Delmon Young in there). 

Is he going to hold his weight and contribute positively on a playoff contender in 2013? Yeah, sure.

Is he going to continue down that path in 2014? Probably not.

2015? We cringe, all of us.

So take the attraction Torii Hunter and the Tigers find in each other with a grain of salt. He’s a short term stopgap to a long term solution. Just wade carefully in the multiyear deals. They come back to bite more often than not.

  • Ben Cook

    money is torii sr’s son, torii jr’s brother

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