September 24, 2007

Why the Twins will not sign Torii Hunter

Alright, today I will post why I believe the Twins will not be having Torii Hunter roaming center field after this season, and tomorrow I will share why I believe he will be roaming in center field next season. (Confusin' ain't it?)

Yesterday was a very emotional day for both Twins players, and also for Twins fans. They had to (potentially) say goodbye to the beloved Torii Hunter. Although he will still be with the Twins for another 7 games which will be held in Detroit and in Boston, he may have played his last game in the Metrodome as a member of the Minnesota Twins.

Torii Hunter has been the most influential and lovable Twin since the retirement of Kirby Puckett right before the 1996 season. He has won 5 consecutive Rawlings Gold Gloves between 2002-2006 and he could add a 6th this season. The home run snatching, center fielder was given the nickname "Spider Man" by Sammy Sosa, after robbing Barry Bonds of a home run in the 2002 MLB All-Star Game.

Torii has been the face of the franchise for the better part of a decade and his loss on the field and in the clubhouse will be missed.

Torii hasn't made anything official just yet. But a lot of speculation is that the Twins may lose out to Torii Hunter in a "weak" free agency market this off-season. Torii's wife and son live about an hour away from the Ballpark at Arlington where the Texas Rangers play. And wouldn't ya know it, the Rangers are looking for a Center Fielder as well.

Torii was offered a 3-year $45 Million contract by the Twins in the beginning of September, but he quickly declined. Speculation is that he wants at least a 5 year deal.

Since then, Torii has expressed his interest of playing with the Rangers multiple times. Earlier this week, he said:

"I haven't thought about it a little bit," Hunter said of playing for the Rangers. "I've thought about it a lot a bit. I'm going to be a free agent and I'm just watching. I'm watching to see what all the teams out there are going to do."

"My family's there and that's the main thing," Hunter said. "My family wants me there. My kids want me there. But at the same, we're just seeing what the situation looks like because I do have to be in a winning situation. Any player wants that."

"I almost bet you that the Texas Rangers have a better chance than anybody,"

The thing to also think about is this: Alex Rodriguez is still being payed by the Texas Rangers and if he chooses to opt out at the end of the season, the Rangers will be relieved of paying him $10 Million. That money is already a good "down payment" to Torii Hunter's services. The team will still need to bring in a couple pitchers as well as another bat or two to make Hunter really be swayed the Rangers way. But I think that Torii wanting to be close to his family will play a big role in his decision. Another place he could land is the Houston Astro's, who are about 3.5-4 hours from Torii's family, but are a little closer to contention.

Ultimately, if he leaves, I am going to predict that Torii signs a 6-year $85 Million deal with the Texas Rangers. It almost makes too much sense.

Stay tuned for the "flip side" tomorrow.

2 comments:

Nick N. said...

Good post. Incidentally, it's pretty much the same thing I posted about for today. I won't be posting any type of counterpoint though, because in my opinion Hunter is as good as gone.

Josh's Thoughts said...

I have different feelings regarding the Hunter situations. My gut feeling is that he's going to leave because he wants a long-term deal with a big paycheck, but another part of me is that he'll stay (mainly because the Twins will really give him a nice offer).

We'll have to see. It's definitely hard to predict at this point.