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Torii Hunter signs a two-year, $26 million deal with the Tigers

Nov 14, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT

Torii Hunter Getty Images

It’s not 100% done yet — it’s pending a physical — but Ken Rosenthal reports that the Tigers have signed Torii Hunter to a two-year deal. The deal is for $26 million.

Hunter and the Tigers are a perfect fit.  He can slide right in to right field — or left and can probably still fill in center if something happens to Austin Jackson — and will provide a considerable upgrade on defense while helping solidify a lineup that, beyond Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, could be pitched to last season. You have to assume he’ll bat second behind Jackson and in front of Cabrera, Fielder and Victor Martinez.  He may be a more ideal five or six-hitter though.

Hunter finished last season with the highest average (.313) of his career while driving in 92. He’s 37, of course, so he’s likely to see some falloff. But he still provides a nice upgrade and is widely regarded to be one of the best clubhouse guys in the game.

  1. Kleinz 57 - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Further evidence that Mike Ilitch is a bigger fan of aging Twins outfielders than I ever was.

    • Bruce Knutson - Nov 14, 2012 at 9:48 PM

      don’t really know how you could see this as a bad signing. Hunter is a hell of a guy to have in the club house and can still produce.

  2. uyf1950 - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Can’t blame Torii for taking that deal. Scratch Torii Hunter off some Yankee fans wish list (including this Yankee fan). That appears to leave just Ichiro or a trade for a right fielder, probably Ichiro.

    Also, looks like the Red Sox are going to have to search elsewhere for a right fielder. Need I say that previously the Red Sox were “linked” to Hunter.

    • Jeremy T - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      Yeah, I wanted him as Swisher’s replacement, too. This appears to be the year of the Tigers beating the Yankees. Or… maybe not everything revolves around the Yankees 😉 . Anyways, very nice signing. Hunter should be a significant upgrade over Young.

    • cosanostra71 - Nov 14, 2012 at 7:22 PM

      Enjoyed having Torii on the Angels, fun player to watch and seems like a great personality. I wish him luck even if he is on the Tigers.

  3. normcash - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Good deal for the Tigers AND for Hunter. He wants to win a championship. The Tigers will be favored to go to the Series again. Hunter is still an outstanding fielder and his hitting, as last season
    proved, is excellent. Plus, his bright, optimistic attitude is a massive upgrade from a chemistry
    perspective over Delmon Young’s sour, chip-on-the-shoulder negativity.

  4. historiophiliac - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:25 PM


  5. iamjimmyjack - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Hey torii, remember when u told us Angel fans it wasn’t about the money? That was funny huh?

    • nategearhart - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      So if you were him, how much money would you have not taken to stay with the Angels?

      • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        Just to be on the bench watching Trout play, should have been enough.

    • historiophiliac - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      Um, I don’t think he left because someone lured him away….

    • koufaxmitzvah - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Maybe it’s about having a position to play in the outfield.

    • cosanostra71 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      um… Halos never pursued Torii… we didn’t even extend a qualifying offer…

  6. natsattack - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Does this seem to anyone else like he was overpaid?

    • historiophiliac - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      You don’t think he took enough of a cut from before?

    • indaburg - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      Thanks to the new CBA, we know that $13.3 million is the annual average pay of the top 125 free agents from the previous winter. I think it’s safe to say that Hunter is an above average player and towards the top of free agents available this year (2012: .OPS .817, WAR 5.5). He is getting paid 13 million for two years. Nope, I don’t think he was overpaid in baseball terms.

      (If you want to argue how collectively, everyone in professional sports is overpaid in terms of their societal contributions, that’s a whole different discussion.)

      • indaburg - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

        **$13 million per year for the next two years.

  7. MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Wow….lots of cash. Hope they saved some for the real needs on the team!

  8. wildcatwilly - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    It’s not about the money it’s about winning! And Detroit is the best chance to win. Great signing for the tigers boesch was a flash and berry is a nothing better than a 4th outfielder.

  9. Detroit Michael - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Unlike last year’s Prince Fielder signing or the mid-season trade for Sanchez & Infante, I don’t there think is any downside to this move as a Tiger fan. They needed a strong defensive right fielder with a reliable bat. They identified the player they wanted and got him with just a two-year contract. If they had to over pay a bit on the annual salary, that’s OK given that the other conditions were met.

    • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      I don’t care how much they spend, as long as they win. I will help pay for it by paying $12.50 for a hot and a beer. It would be nice to see that infield improve with some defense. That hole at second has been there since Polanco left. I miss Pauly. I remember when Infante wish in Toledo and they called him and Santiago the next Trammel and Whitaker……lol

  10. sparty0n - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    When I heard Hunter was interested in joining the Tigers and money wasnt going to be a factor, I thought this might be a good fit. But, for this kind of cash, I would have preferred they stick with Dirks, Garica and bring up Castellanos for the corner spots and dedicate that money to PITCHING! They still need another starter and their bullpen is a mess.

    • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      me and you are the minority. People are still stuck on the big names of the past.

  11. indaburg - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    2 yrs, 26 million sounds like a reasonable deal for Hunter.

    I sometimes wish my team had an owner that only cared about winning, money be damned. I can only watch and admire wistfully.

    • historiophiliac - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      I’m trying not to giggle like a schoolgirl that my baseball bf is going to be in the D!!!

      • indaburg - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        Sigh. Giggle away, m’dear. I would be giggling like Ichiro meeting Obama.

  12. cameltoehoe - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Getting older doesn’t always mean you’re getting better. Ask the Lakers.

  13. lewp - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    I’m glad he’s off the board…I was worried the Rangers were going to make a bid for him and we already are saying goodbye to an older guy that wants a ton of money.

  14. nybostonfan - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    That does seem like a lot of money for a guy that will be 39 when the contract is up. I was figuring he would get 2 years at around $18 million which is still a lot of cash. I wonder how this affects the OF market? Does Cody Ross now get his 3 years at about $28-$30 million? He’s a good clubhouse guy with decent pop and similar OPS as Hunter.

  15. willclarkgameface - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Torii seems to be one of the good guys. Good for him for getting work with a 2 year deal.

    The Tigers might be able to produce more runs at this point with him in their lineup and the return of Martinez. The defense MIGHT get an upgrade if he’s out there as well. Plus deal all around.

  16. roarrestored753 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    T. Hunter is not your everyday 36 yr old major leaguer. He’s built like a football player and is incredible shape. Age is a non issue. To all the Angels fans complaining. The only offer that was made was a 5 million dollar deal for one year. Considering he was projected to make twice that I’d say it was a disrespectful offer and the Angels really had no interest in resigning him. His stats might decline but the money is well worth it in leadership, defense, and what he can teach the young outfielders the tigers have.

    • Detroit Michael - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      There’s a big difference between arguing that Hunter may age more gently than the average plan and asserting that age is a nonissue.

      Obviously, he doesn’t cover the same ground today in the outfield that he did when he was in his prime years. Take a look at the triples or stolen base columns of his career stats sometime before you assert that age is a nonissue for Hunter.

  17. kcmaddog1 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    And the rich get richer!

    • vallewho - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:37 PM

      the rich owner spends money to put a good team out there. isn’t that refreshing?

  18. lionsplayoffs - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    This is exactly what I was afraid of. That’s $6M too much. Granted it’s only 2 years, but for a little bit more per year we could have gotten Josh Hamilton. He’s a nice player but we paid too much.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:30 PM

      Granted it’s only 2 years, but for a little bit more per year we could have gotten Josh Hamilton

      Are we reading the same numbers? Hunter is signed for a two year deal totaling $26M whereas Hamilton is asking for a $25M per year deal? How is that just a little more?

      • Charles Gates - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:37 PM

        American education, plus the addition of Other People’s Money.

  19. vallewho - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    How come no one says that Detroit is trying to buy a championship?

    • Detroit Michael - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      The owner is trying, just not succeeding, so far!

      • vallewho - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:45 PM

        I find nothing wrong with that!

      • vallewho - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:50 PM

        I just wanted to point out how moronic “that” sentiment really is….
        I mean I’m sure everyone wants their team/owner/franchise to spend money to get the best available players as opposed to …well you know.

  20. wfleitz - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Yes, but that’s what people don’t realize. Hamilton would have cost the tigers their 1st round draft pick, not to mention a 5-6 year deal. This is a nice short deal, and if in fact he does hit in front of Cabrera, he has the experience to know how to take advantage of the cookies he will get.

  21. garrison1981 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Welcome to Detroit!

  22. Bruce Knutson - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    With a two year deal, you can’t go wrong here. Hunter is getting the price the market dictates and it is certainly an upgrade for the Tigers

  23. btwicey - Nov 14, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    V good sign, nice tigers

  24. slumdog66 - Nov 14, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    As an angels fan, I am sad to see him go. Detroit got a true leader and genuine good guy. The man is a stud! For the people saying maybe its about a spot in the outfield or he doesn’t want to watch trout from the bench. You are wrong. He has a spot over bourjos and wells in right field. Anyways, good luck Torii, you are the man!

  25. fissels - Nov 14, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Great place to play. Good move Tori

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