Oct
31

Report: Yankees have interest in Torii Hunter

By

Via Mark Feinsand: The Yankees have interest in free agent-to-be outfielder Torii Hunter. The Angels are unlikely to make him a qualifying offer, meaning it would not cost a draft pick to sign him.

Hunter, 37, hit .313/.365/.451 with 16 homers with the Halos this offseason, though his .389 BABIP was wildly out of whack compared to the rest of his career (.307). He’s been a consistently above-average hitter throughout his career though, plus he offers solid defense in right field. The Yankees love strong character as well, and Hunter is widely considered to be one of the best guys in the game. He’s a fit and someone we will hear an awful lot about in the coming weeks.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League

125 Comments»

  1. Austin Aunelowitzky says:

    Will he sign a 1 year deal? What kind of contract would it take years/dollars?

    • Greg says:

      How bout passing on Hunter, and say maybe a trade for Justin Upton, or maybe signing BJ Upton. Younger players with more upside and a one year wonder. Every year when the NYY get run out of the playoffs we hear the same thing. They need to get younger and faster. Guess what, it never happens!!!!

  2. Robinson Tilapia (We go hard) says:

    On a one-year deal while we give it an extra year to see what we’ve got in the soon-to-be-AA guys? A better, younger solution would be preferable, but it beats the Ichiro idea.

    • jjyank says:

      Hunter > Ichiro. I just worry that someone will throw Hunter two years.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      I think they could bring Ichiro back as well in that situation. Tell him he will play all 3 OF spots, maybe grab some DH time depending on what happens with the rest of the roster.

      Gardner, Granderson, Hunter and Ichiro? I could live with that, though it’s a little too LHed. You’d like a RHed bat off the bench in that scenario.

  3. Phil says:

    sign Tori Hunter for 2 years and then Tyler Austion will be ready to play rightfield.

  4. Adam says:

    Great! Another aging player.

  5. Cano fan #1 says:

    They definitely are getting younger. Lol

  6. mark says:

    Younger than Andruw.

  7. Pasqua says:

    To everyone that will start clamouring for “youth” upon reading this — where would you like it to come from? The minor league guys are a long way off, and there isn’t much on the FA board that fits the bill. Sure, a trade is always an option, but you have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is the FA market.

    In all likelihood, the Yanks will have to fill a couple of holes before the “youth movement” that everyone wants (until the team doesn’t win, but that’s another story) becomes a reality. Hunter and Ichiro are not long-term solutions, and the Yanks know that.

    • jjyank says:

      Don’t pay any attention to the crowd that thinks that younger = better. Getting younger would be great, if you can do both. But just get better.

    • Robinson Tilapia (We go hard) says:

      They want pod prospects to suddenly sprout in AAA next year.

    • DC says:

      This is the same crowd that doesn’t understand why we don’t have a Mike Trout or King Felix coming through AAA every year.

      • Billion$Bullpen says:

        well the reason we dont have THE MIKE TROUT is we signed Tex right?

        • Ted Nelson says:

          No. That is false. They also lost picks from CC and AJ that same offseason and the Angels have said they would have taken Trout with only one pick.

          • Steve (different one) says:

            Correct. The Angels were going to take Trout with the pick they got from the Mets for signing KRod. Nothing the Yanks could have done would have changed that.

    • mustang says:

      Great comment and equally great comments underneath.

      I would also like to add that the “aging players” serve this team well this year.

      I would think that part of the Yankees’ “youth movement” would be not to trade their prospect, wait to they develop and fill the holes with quality short-term deals for the short term thus their interest in Hunter.

  8. Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan says:

    7 years $120 million should work.

    • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan says:

      Well, since he said the Yankees were a team he’d like the play for, 7 years $110 mil might be more accurate.

  9. forensic says:

    Isn’t he already a free agent, not a free agent-to-be? I know he can’t sign yet, but he is already declared a free agent, which kind of makes it seem like there are issues/contradictions in the new system.

  10. fin says:

    This has to be the first time I can remember that the Yankees are letting a FA in his prime go to replace him with a clearly inferior FA. Its going to be fun to watch the Yankees trim payroll and try to stay competitive. I dont think they can do it. With Pineda’s future in question, Teix on a steady decline and Arod looking like his days of even being productive coming to end. This team needs an influx of talent not down grades, and there isnt any help on the way from the minor leagues.

    Its not that I’m against singing Hunter, as he very well maybe the best option for the Yankees, its just hard to watch the team get worse. Next year looks like the Yankees could have a 37yr old right fielder, a 37 year old at 3b, a 39 yr old ss, a 43yr old closer, 1 38yr old pitcher and another 41yr old pitcher. The odds are very good that this is the year that age catches up with the Yankees. Yankee stadium looked empty in the playoffs, I cant imagine what it will look like when this team falls out of contention. Clearly I am not real high on this team, as I could see half these old men falling off a cliff, and wouldnt be shocking if they all had years significantly worse than their career norms. Next years team could be a real mess, akin to this years Redsox.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      I’m not sure Hunter is clearly inferior to Swisher.
      Swisher as a Yankee: 268/367/483. 128 wRC+, 15.1 fWAR
      Hunter in those 4 years: 288/354/461. 124 wRC+. 15.5 fWAR

      Seems like more of a lateral move, with Swisher having a definite age advantage, and Torii Hunter having a definite actually hit in the postseason advantage.

      Budget aside, with similar AAV’s, Hunter for 1-2 years probably makes more sense than Swisher for 4-5.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        Hunter is six years older. He’s likely to get worse while Swisher is likely to maintain his performance, at least for another year or two.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

          I agree with that. But if it was a choice between Hunter for 1-2 or Swisher for 5, I’d go with Hunter.

          • fin says:

            Swisher will be younger when his 5yrs are up than Hunter is now. Its very possible Swisher will out produce Hunters next 2yrs, for all 5 of his. I’m not in love with Swisher, and I am not suprised the Yankees dont want to pay his price. Normally we would be seeing the Yankees look for an upgrade to Swisher, not a downgrade.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

              For 2013, I’d slightly prefer Hunter to Swisher. There is definite age risk, but he is coming off a better year than Swisher. I don’t think it would get really dicey until year 2 (if they had to go to 2 years).

              • Ted Nelson says:

                Hunter’s better year was fueled by a totally unsustainable BABIP.

                I disagree with fin’s paranoia, but I think Swisher is likely to be better next year.

                • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

                  I definitely expect Hunter to regress some. He’s never hit .300 before, and I don’t expect he will again (though his career high LD and GB rates certainly explain some of the increased BABIP). I would expect Swisher to be slightly better offensively offensively than Hunter next year, but with slighly worse defense and worse baserunning, making them about even in value. I gave the edge to Hunter for next year only because I’m tired of waiting for Swisher to get out of his own way in the postseason.

              • fin says:

                Not me, adding one more old guy to this team is just playing with fire. Seriously, how many guys 37 and over can you have and realistically expect them to make the playoffs. Between expected or unexpected performance declines, drop off cliff possibilities, injury concerns and fatigue as the season goes on….The possibility of having 6 of them on the Yankees next year has to be pretty scary to all but the most optimistic of fans.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  Their age was not really the problem last season. Two of their biggest losses were young (Gardner and Pineda), and several old guys performed well. The old guys who got hurt were entirely freak injuries: Mo, Pettitte, and A-Rod. Mo is the only one where you can really say it might have been age.

        • Cuso says:

          Again with the Swisher theory based on nothing but “feelings.” He’s likely to maintain his performance because you think so – got it.

    • Robinson Tilapia (We go hard) says:

      “This has to be the first time I can remember that the Yankees are letting a FA in his prime go to replace him with a clearly inferior FA.”

      None of this actually happened yet.

      • fin says:

        Unless they are going to trade away all their low A guys for an upgrade to Swisher, its going to be a downgrade as Swisher is the best RF on the market.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Who is in Low A exactly? Tyler Austin is in AA. Mason and Sanchez are in High A… Even Gumbs and Mitchell are unlikely to be in Low A next season. Are they going to trade Bird, Cote, Santana?

          In all seriousness, Justin Upton is pretty likely to be available and is exactly the kind of guy they would look at under any CBA.

          They also might re-sign Swisher, and then their RF next year will give them the exact same performance as Swisher.
          Or they could go out and sign Josh Hamilton.

          Paranoia is not a good reason to make management decisions. The Yankees need to make the best decision for their org. If Swisher does attract some Werth/Bay type contract, it very well could be in their best interest to let him walk. RF may decline, but LF should improve from 2012 if Gardner is healthy (whether it’s Gardner or Granderson in LF). Granderson might bounce back in 2013.

          You’re buying into the sensationalist MSM hype on A-Rod. He only couldn’t hit after hurting his hand. His wRC+s for the months before the injury were: 114, 125, 112, and 132. For the season it was 114. That puts him 12th among 3B with 400 PAs or more. He’s overpaid, but it doesn’t look like his days of being productive are over based on a month sample where he very well might have still been recovering.

          The Yankees won 95 games last season. They made the ALCS. It’s not guaranteed that they make the playoffs next season, but please get a grip.

          • fin says:

            Eh, I wrote a big counter argument to your post but it just wasnt worth it. It looked to negative and doom gloom for what I see happening with this many players this old. This isnt a bunch of mid 30s guys, this is a bunch of guys in their late 30s to early 40s, I dont think it will work at all. Good for you if you do, we will see what happens if the Yankees sign Hunter, bring back Pettite, Mo and Kuroda. I know this much, if I lived near you I would bet you a significant amount of money that the Yankees dont make the playoffs.

            By the way, I also dont think there is a way out of the situation for the Yankees. They have basically had the same payroll for 8 years and are now going to reduce it while salaries are going up, and from what I’m reading will even see a steeper increase starting this year, as teams get these cable deals. Even if they were to expand their payroll, I dont think there would be a quick fix. I think its the cost of winning for 20yrs. It happens to every team in every sport that has a run as long as the Yankees. I think the real question is how long the Yankees will miss the playoffs before rebuilding a contender and is the Yankee system good enough to field a contender without going over the salary cap.

            • dalelama says:

              The answer to the farm system question at the moment is a definitive no. The soil is barren.

            • johnny says:

              I would take a significant amount of money from you

            • MannyGeee says:

              “This isnt a bunch of mid 30s guys, this is a bunch of guys in their late 30s to early 40s”

              With the exception of Gardner, Granderson (young 30′s guy), Cano, (maybe) Martin & Tex (still a mid 30′s guy)… So except for 1/2 the the starting 9, you’re right.

              Also, Sabathia, Hughes and one of Phelps/Nova are your potential starting rotation… all “mid 30′s” or under.

              So your narrative? pretty pretty false.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                His narrative is pretty ridiculous. It’s taking a bad case as the most likely case. In reality, the distribution of possible seasons (samples) is normally distributed. Assuming things will go wrong isn’t realistic.

  11. Joe says:

    Yes please a guy who hits over 300.

  12. pistol pete says:

    Agree Hunter over Ichiro and not that much of a downgrade from Swisher and maybe he can actually do something in the playoffs unlike Swisher. I love Ichiro but the Yankees are far too lefthanded with Granderson and Gardner in the outfield. I could live with two years if the money’s not too bad, the Yanks could always trade him in year two if they have to. How about catching, are we going to resign Martin or go after Napoli or Pierzynski?

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I’m not too hung up on age, but at the same time I wouldn’t count on trade value for a guy who turns 39 in year 2 if year 1 doesn’t go well. His BABIP was sky high this season, so a regression is likely. How much of one is more of the question to me.

    • WhittakerWalt says:

      Please no Pierzynski. He’s the most hated man in baseball, and with good reason. Even his teammates don’t pretend to like him.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Napoli isn’t really even a catcher. He’s not an option.

  13. pistol pete says:

    Any idea what Hunter will cost?

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Wild guess: 2/20.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        I think reports were the Angels would offer 1/5 or maybe it was 1/8.

        It’s definitely possible that some team falls from the BABIP mirage. With his age and $, though, he might rather sign with a contender for one year than a team likely to lose for two.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

          If a team falls for last year’s 130 wRC+ “mirage”, he’s getting a lot more than 2/20. He’s been fairly consistently a 2.5-3.5 WAR player. That makes 2/20 fairly reasonable even ignoring last year’s career year.

          • FIPster Doofus says:

            Exactly.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Not turning 38 next season it doesn’t make 3 years likely, no.

            I don’t think 2 years $20 mill is reasonable to expect for a 37 year old below average RF who will probably only look at a few teams. Definitely possible, but at that age and unlikely to entertain most teams I think one year is more likely. Most likely his true talent is at around the 2.5 end of the range at this time in his career.

            What comparable are there out there?

  14. stuart a says:

    I take Tori for 1 year. clutch player, no fear, and very good fielder especially in right….

  15. Chuck says:

    Rather have ichiro

  16. Chuck says:

    Rather have ichiro

  17. Samuel says:

    Someone please explain to me why Torii Hunter would even consider coming to play for the Yankees?

    Free agency is a two-way street, and I do not see Hunter, who has played in the relatively safe confines of Minnesota and Anaheim, would even want to play in Yankee Stadium. Especially after what everyone saw this year with the right field “creatures” abusing Nick Swisher.

    If you think that Yankee money and the mystique of being in pinstripes is paramount for players, think again. The days of players always wanting to be a Yankee might be over.

    Hunter lives in Dallas, his son just signed to play football at Notre Dame, so I see maybe the Texas Rangers or Chicago White Sox being on his wish list, but certainly not the Yankees.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Swisher got trashed by some fans, so everyone is done wanting to play for the Yankees. Right.

      Bottom line: The Yankees are championship contenders and they can can offer Hunter plenty of money and a starting job.

      • Samuel says:

        Not all the free agents…just the intelligent ones. Have a bad couple weeks in Yankee-land and everyone talks about “wanting you gone.”

        Sounds like a real great place to play.

        Money doesn’t matter to a guy who has made over $100 million.

        No way Hunter comes to NY. Yankees aren’t even guaranteed to be a playoff team in 2013, unlike Texas which dominates the AL West. The Red Sox will be better, Tampa will be the same pain in the ass, while Baltimore could be the same also with Machado for a full season and Dylan Bundy likely part of the rotation by mid year.

        • MannyGeee says:

          “Money doesn’t matter to a guy who has made over $100 million.”

          money matters to EVERYONE. Especially someone who has made that kind of money historically.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          LOL. Texas didn’t even win the AL West this season or really make the playoffs (one game…).

          He says the Yankees are one of only four teams he will play for, but there’s no way he will play for them?

          You are too much.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Straight from the horse’s mouth…

      If Hunter doesn’t return to the Angels, he said he’d consider playing for three other teams, the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers or Dodgers. Otherwise, he will retire.

      “If I don’t get offers from one of those four,” Hunter said, “then it’s, ‘See ya!’ It’s about winning.”

      http://articles.latimes.com/20.....s-20120719

    • Robinson Tilapia (We go hard) says:

      “Especially after what everyone saw this year with the right field “creatures” abusing Nick Swisher.”

      It was ONE incident in four seasons. Sit in the bleachers sometime. Fans have always been great to Swisher, and he’s been great to us in return.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      As said above he’s literally publicly listed the Yankees as a place he wants to play.

      And while there are fewer fans, people don’t like losers in other cities. LA is not even a small city.

    • Mike says:

      This is crazy talk. Aging guys usually want to play for contenders towards the end of their careers to enhance the chances of going out with a championship. What better place to do that than with the Yankees? Why do you think guys like Ichiro waive their no trade rights to come here?

  18. Billion$Bullpen says:

    Never been a big Hunter fan. Ichiro for one year and as cheap as possible please. If Ichiro goes elsewhere I would be ok with Hunter if he is cheap and one year. I really would prefer nobody on more than a one year deal.

  19. Reason says:

    Just say no to Hunter. He smiles too much, enjoys the game, is well liked by his teammates, plays hard, has talent, and is durable. Not the kind of player that will be liked on RAB.

    • TLVP says:

      Well, the only player that gets universal love at RAB is Mo. I’m pretty sure i’ve seen negative comments about every other player on this team over the last few years and multiple times as well

    • Samuel says:

      Sounds like you were describing Swisher, who was basically run out of town for not producing in the postseason.

      • Rob H. says:

        Oh, you mean when it truly matters? People can forgive one year here or there but when it is consistently every single post-season that you suck, any fanbase would get aggrevated with you. And lets not pretend like the Yankee fanbase is the only one that has idiots who spew venom at players. Every fanbase has those idiots. The yankee fan idiots just get more press because it’s the yankees.

  20. MM42 says:

    Does it strike anyone that the ultra tight lipped Yankees are peddling this rumor? I’d be more inclined to believe the Hunter to RF rumor if we heard nothing. It seems more likely that floating the Hunter possibility is posturing for upcoming Swisher negotiations.

  21. JohnC says:

    Nothing wrong with a year or 2 of Hunter to give guys like Austin. Williams, and Heathcott the proper time in the minors to develop and make sure they are ready. NO way would I want to be locked into Swisher on a 5 year deal.

  22. JohnC says:

    I would also look into Grady Sizemore on an incentive laden 1 year deal, provided he is finally healthy.

  23. Eddard says:

    Couldn’t be worse than Swisher and won’t be commanding a Jayson Werth deal either. I like the pickup because then we can trade Granderson, move Gardner to CF and re-sign Ichiro in LF. Hunter, Gardner, Ichiro would be a great outfield.

  24. Mike says:

    Sounds like someone the Red Sox would be going at too. Pass, don’t want to get in a bidding war for this guy.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      If you believe the quote above, that he will only play for Texas, LA, LAA, or NYY, there might not be much of a bidding war at all. Seems like it would be NYY or Texas. The Dodgers already have $60M committed to their OF next year and it seems like the Angels are moving on. Could be a fit.

  25. David Ortizs Dealer says:

    Hunter has made some “I dont want to play in NY” comments in the past.

  26. Dale Mohorcic says:

    On his being a good guy:

    In the report, Hunter was quoted as saying: “People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African-American. They’re not us. They’re impostors. Even people I know come up and say: ‘Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a black player?’ I say, ‘Come on, he’s Dominican. He’s not black.’ …

    “As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It’s like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It’s like, ‘Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?’ … I’m telling you, it’s sad,” he said.
    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com.....htm?csp=34

    • MannyGeee says:

      As a Hispanic American, I see NOTHING wrong with what he’s said here. He’s right, people see a tone of skin and generalize. And players (used to) come from Latin American countries at a fraction of the cost as an American prep school player.

      Is saying something racially driven (not racist) make him not a nice guy?

  27. DZ says:

    Just out of pure curiosity, what do you guys think of Victorino, quick, plays hard/good defense, and is widely well liked. He had a down year last season so maybe he accepts a one year deal to try and get a better deal next offseason? Is 2/24 light or heavy? An outfield with Gardner and Ichiro is pretty solid, obviously the power isn’t there, but maybe they try to sacrifice power in 2013 for speed. Thoughts?

    * assuming granderson is traded/we don’t trade for an outfielder

    • DZ says:

      Forgot to mention he didn’t hit righties well last season. Not that it would be ideal, but a platoon with ichiro would have to be (an expensive) effective tandem.

      • Herby says:

        I want no part of a return of Ichiro…he had a good two weeks and everyone is in love with him. I don’t think he’s going to perform like that again over the course of a season. I really think you need to look at someone who is more athletic with some power. Upton would be an interesting choice depending on what you’d have to give up…could be part of a Granderson trade. Hunter would be a good one to two year fill-in.
        Swisher can go to Texas and do commercials for MLB Depends…
        So people can’t tell you’ve wet yourself when fans in RF trash you.
        “Bro…they’ve even got my team logo on them.”

        • DZ says:

          I think everyone would agree that a granderson-upton 3 team deal is the best option, but also probably the least likely. I think victorino is someone who the yankees should target but probably won’t. My guy tells me Ichiro will probably be back, and then maybe Hunter could come in with him. Melky is another guy who should and will be looked at by everyone

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Ichiro and Upton are not particularly comparable. One would require a one year, 7-figure commitment, the other a blockbuster trade that would largely gut the farm system. 95% of people would rather have Upton if the cost were the same. The difficult part is that the cost is not close.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I don’t like Victorino for RF. He will likely be paid as an above average CF (and should be), but in RF he’s probably a below average producer. It’s an easier position to fill, yet you’d be paying a premium for a below average player.

      I wouldn’t think in terms of power vs. speed. They aren’t mutually exclusive. Offensive stats like wOBA try to quantify the impact of all offensive contributions. Then stats like WAR try quantify all impact.

      I would assume Granderson is not traded. I think it’s possible, but I doubt it happens.

  28. Chris says:

    Anyone have any thoughts on maybe checking the availability for Cameron Maybin from San Diego for LF? Could come a lot cheaper than say, Upton. Has speed, some power and is a lot younger than the better free agent options out there despite striking out a whole lot (so he’d fit right in).

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