The Minnesota Twins have been hot on the heels of Torii Hunter all offseason. After signing with the Angels and then eventually moving to the Detroit Tigers, a reunion back where it all started would be a great story. Hunter left in search of more winning and big dollar signs. He accomplished that without the ultimate goal of a World Series title. If he comes back to Minnesota though, the Twins must make him matter.
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At this point in his career, you aren’t signing Torii Hunter for his home run robbing skills or his gold glove ability in the outfield. Sure him taking one away from Barry Bonds in Miller Park at the All-Star game was a great sight, but that isn’t who he is anymore. A depreciating asset in the outfield, Hunter still has ability to get it done at the plate.
Despite being 38 years of age, Hunter hit .286/.319/.446 for the Tigers with 17 home runs and 83 runs batted in. Those numbers would rank amongst the best for the Twins and would be a significant boost to the lineup. His bat however isn’t the reason you are signing a guy like Torii Hunter either.
With Torii Hunter, you are gaining a great locker room guy who has the ability to be a great mentor for the influx of young talent coming up through the farm system. However, for that to work, the Twins have to put it on themselves to put the timeline into place.
Sure it’s great for Torii to interact with Byron Buxton, Aaron Hicks, Miguel Sano, and Eddie Rosario for a few weeks during spring training. Unfortunately, if those guys aren’t with the big league club, seeing how Torii goes about his business and following in his footsteps, you are wasting his final time here.
For the Twins to bring Torii Hunter back into the fold, they need to be ready and prepared to accelerate the developmental cycle of their young budding prospects, and they must be playing and interacting with one another on a daily basis.
Would Torii be fun to have back in Minnesota? Of course he would. Do I believe he should be here while the wave of the future continues to take meaningless at bats against lesser competition? Not a chance.
Now it’s time to wait and see how this one all shakes out.
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