Torii Hunter is officially gone. After agreeing to a 5-year, $90 million deal with the Angels yesterday, Hunter's 15 year tenure with the Twins organization is now over. And, I'm really not that upset. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to not have to worry about who will play in center next season, and I'd love to know what I'll be getting each night. But for $18 million per season, it isn't worth it.
We knew this was coming all off-season, we just didn't know where it would happen or when. Hunter had always said that the Twins were his first choice, but we knew that wasn't true. His first choice was wherever the money was. Every team offered the same $15 million per season, only they all offered two more seasons than the Twins did. Hunter said he'd wait a week or two to make his decision, and then the money came. When the Angels came knocking with the biggest deal yet, it was over, Hunter became a Halo.
But for $18 million per season, it isn't worth it for the Twins. They can't spend that much per season on an aging Hunter. This past season was a career year, and before that he put up good numbers, but wasn't an $18 million player. Hunter will most likely never duplicate this past season, and paying him that much when he is 36 years old wouldn't be a smart move for the organization.
Letting him move on, will be the best move. The Twins will now have cap room to sign other players this off-season, and for the Twins original offer of $45 million to Hunter, I'm sure they can sign one or two guys.
And, there are some other positives...
1) One of the best things was that Hunter decided to sign with the Angels. Had he signed with any of the other teams that offered him a contract, the Twins wouldn't have gotten two draft picks. The Dodgers, Nationals, Royals, White Sox, and Rangers were all below the .500 mark last season, so they wouldn't have had to give up the picks. The Angels won 90 games and made the playoffs, so we'll be collecting a first rounder and a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds.
2) Another positive is the cap room. The Twins will now have more money to sign other players. With the money they were going to fork out for Hunter, they should be able to find a pretty decent player. Whether the front office does anything smart is another thing.
3) Lets be thankful that the White Sox didn't sign him. Not only would we have had to see him playing for one of our biggest rivals, but we would have also had to watch him go up against us 18 times in each of the next 5 seasons.
4) The final positive is that he signed with a team so early. This should give the Twins plenty of time to decide what direction to head in, and should also give them more time to find a replacement.