The long courtship between Torii Hunter and the Detroit Tigers has finally been consummated, as the outfielder signed a two year, $26 million contract with the club today, pending a physical.
…and yes, that’s a lot of money. That’s the Carlos Beltran contract, in fact. But payroll concerns appear to be secondary to the Tigers’ brass right now. There is no third year involved, so it’s a short-term commitment in the name of winning and winning now. Hunter will almost certainly provide a big defensive upgrade, and if he can hit .275/.330/.420, I’ll be thrilled. And hey, he’s a Great Clubhouse Presence! It can’t hurt, anyway. Hopefully Octavio Dotel will like him.
Of course, we will now hear the Tigers’ lineup referred to as a “murderer’s row” (just like last year, when it included Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young), so proceed with caution. This is, however, a move that makes the Tigers better. It comes at a rather high price in terms of dollars, but such is the price Mike Ilitch is willing to pay for a World Series winner. It does address the Tigers’ two-hole issue as well as their corner outfield issue, and as usual, the front office identified their man and got him before anyone else could.