Well, forget everything that was reported earlier in the day, forget the Texas Rangers looking like favorite to sign Torii Hunter, and forget what might even have been conventional wisdom. Instead, the Minnesota Twins have made their first big splash of the offseason by bringing back fan favorite, Torii Hunter.
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Despite leaving the Minnesota Twins for money and the possibility to win with the Los Angeles Angels, and after a brief stop with the AL Central division foe Detroit Tigers, Torii Hunter returns home to the Twins on a one-year deal worth a reported $10.5 million. USA Today Major League Baseball reporter Bob Nightingale broke the news:
As the Twins first offseason acquisition, I’m not too sure how to feel about this. Of course after the signing of Nelson Cruz, the hitting market was bound to take off. On the pitching front, many are still waiting for the likes of James Shields, Jon Lester, and Max Scherzer to help dictate their asking price. Sure, Torii is a great story for the Twins, but is this the right move?
He has proven over the past handful of years that he is still more than capable of getting it done at the plate. There’s still plenty of pop in his bat and he can hit for average. The Twins have a hole in left field however, a position that Torii may not be equipped to play in the rather large Target Field grass. Also, there’s this idea of mentorship.
Torii Hunter must have some interest in ending his career while helping other young players start theres, as indicated by his signing with the Twins. However, thus far, Terry Ryan has shown no inclination to promote the likes of Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano, and Byron Buxton. That trio of young fielders are the core of what could be a very good Twins squad going forward. They are the ones needing to learn from Torii most.
If the Twins are spending this money with the idea of using Torii as the veteran mentor type and are intent on bringing up the young talent as soon as possible, this is something I can get behind. If this deal was struck however because Torii Hunter is a fan favorite and there’s a need in left field, Terry Ryan might have appeased the fan base, but it isn’t a smart baseball decision.