The host stove season is crazy. There are always constant rumors swirling every day. This team is talking to this player, and this player’s agent met with this team, and so on and so forth. It never ends. What’s the latest rumor? The Dodgers have been talking to Torii Hunter.
I’m not exactly sure why. Some people tend to think that the Dodgers are still going to trade Andre Ethier, and that Hunter is going to take over in right field. I can tell you right now, that that’s not going to happen. The Dodger’s outfield for 2013 is already set. Carl Crawford in left, Matt Kemp in center, and Andre Ethier in right. So why would the Dodgers want Hunter? The only reason I can think of is because they need a fourth outfielder. That’s the reason the Dodgers are even talking to him. They need a fourth outfielder, and obviously Hunter would be a good one. But the thing is, The Dodgers don’t need him.
There are a lot of options for fourth outfielders out there. So why would the Dodgers want to spend a ton of money on a part time player? They could easily only spend a couple of million and get someone like a Scott Hairston who would be almost as good as Hunter would be in this role. Not to mention that Hunter doesn’t want to be a part time player. For the role, Hunter would be great. The 37 year old right handed hitting outfielder is still a good player. He hasn’t really started to decline yet, but I expect him to soon. It’s just a fact of Baseball life, he’s 37 years old. Would he be a part time platoon partner for Ethier? He would be a fit for that role since he’s a righty hitting outfielder who can play all three positions. Although like I’ve said before, I don’t agree with that idea. We don’t really need a platoon partner for Ethier, although if that’s what the Dodgers are going to do, then fine. Not to say that Hunter isn’t a good hitter.
He’s been a good hitter his entire career. He was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the first round of the 1993 draft. He didn’t make his MLB debut until 1997. Yes, he’s been playing for a long time. He began his career with the Twins, and played with Minnesota from 1997-2007. During his tenure with the Twins he hit 20+ home runs six times, and drove in 90 or more runs five times. He’s always been a solid hitter with good power. He walks a lot too, averaging around 50 per season and all total 577 during his 16 year major league career. Hunter is a career .277 hitter with a career .335 OBP, and .801 OPS. He’s hit 297 home runs, driven in 1,143 runs, and stolen 187 bases.
Hunter is most well known for his defensive skills as a center fielder. Hunter can play all three outfield positions, but his main position is center field, where he has played in over 1500 games. Hunter has won nine gold gloves, and garnered a reputation for climbing the fences and robbing guys of home runs. This earned him the nickname of spider man.
Hunter became a free agent after the 2007 season, and signed a five year 90 million dollar contract with the Angels. Last season he had another solid year. He posted a line of .313/.365/.451, with an OPS of .817 in 140 games. He hit 16 home runs, and drove in 92 runs. Hunter is still a productive player, there is no question but how much money would he demand? He made 18 million dollars last season in the final year of his contract with the Angels. Several teams including the Dodgers have engaged him, but it’s unclear how much he would get. Will Hunter ask for a multi-year contract? How much would you be willing to invest in a 37 year old center fielder?
The Dodgers are much better off trying to go after someone like a Scott Hairston. If you remember I advocated signing him last week. He may not be as talented as Hunter, but he’s much much cheaper, and still pretty good. Hunter seems like overkill to me. We don’t need an all-star as a fourth outfielder on the bench. We just need someone reliable who can hit, and play all over the outfield, backing up in center field if needed.
I know I advocated signing the 37 year old Hiroki Kuroda, but that’s an entirely different scenario and need. A top ranked starting pitcher is much more valuable than a fourth outfielder. I think Torii Hunter (Torii spelled with two I’s) is too old and expensive. Or at least too old and expensive for a part time role. That’s the opinion of this Dodger fan. I think we should pass.