hunterIt’s Thanksgiving and that means that you’re going to be subjected to any number of sports columns about what people are thankful for.

Me, I’m thankful for the Torii Hunter signing, which gives us something to talk about on this fine national holiday other than the weather, the turkey and A-Rod.


Outfielder Torii Hunter and the Los Angeles Angels reached a preliminary agreement Wednesday night on a five-year contract thought to be worth $90 million.

That’s $18 million a year for Mr. Hunter. Not too shabby.

I’m also thankful for Vegas Watch, who got up early this morning to break down the Torii Hunter signing, thus sparing me the trouble of looking up statistics. You, Vegas Watch. You!

Hunter’s career OBP is .324, and his career OPS+ is 104. He’ll be 33 in July. He looks good out there, but by any metric Hunter was an average fielder this year; THT has him at 0, BP at -1. Only the leaders and trailers have been published from Dewan’s system, but he’s in neither, which means he was between +3 and -9.

It looks as though Hunter is an overrated fielder coming off a career year at the age of 32. This seems like a pretty solid formula for someone to get more money than they’re worth, does it not?

As Vegas Watch points out, this leaves the Angels with a surplus of outfielders — six, if you’re counting at home: Hunter, Gary Matthews Jr., Garret Anderson, Vlad Guerrero, Juan Rivera and Reggie Willits.

Where will they all play? Here’s what the LA Times says:

Hunter, who has excellent speed, instincts and athletic ability, will play center field for the Angels, and Manager Mike Scioscia said Matthews would rotate through the corner outfield spots, and right fielder Vladimir Guerrero and left fielder Garret Anderson would rotate through the designated hitter spot.

It’s hard to imagine that the Angels are going to pay Matthews $10 million a year to be a bench player. But that’s what it looks like is going to happen.

You’ve got to think there will be more to come. You’ve got to think that some of that outfield glut will be traded — possibly for Miguel Cabrera.

No Responses to “Hunter is an Angel”

  1. Coley Ward says:

    From Newsday:

    Other potential targets for the Yankees could be the Rangers’ Hank Blalock, the Mariners’ Adrian Beltre, the White Sox’s Joe Crede (who is coming off back surgery) and the Reds’ Edwin Encarnacion.

    Blalock, who will turn 27 next month, missed most of 2007 because of surgery to remove a rib (thoracic outlet syndrome). He batted .293 with 33 RBIs in 58 games. He has one year and $5.95 million left on his contract, plus a team option for 2009.

    Crede, 29, had a terrible season, batting .216 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 47 games, but he hit 30 homers and knocked in 94 runs in 2006.

    Beltre, 28, has two years left on his five-year, $64-million contract. He hit .276 with 26 homers and 99 RBIs this year.

    Encarnacion, 24, hit .289 with 76 RBIs and is arbitration-eligible.

    I think Crede will be trade bait, since Josh Phelps has emerged as a capable replacement, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Sox, Yankees, Phillies or another team trades for him.

  2. Sarah Green says:

    Yeah, I didn’t go into the possible trades. I think it’s clear that anyone with a 3B to spare should be dangling him out there for a trade after A-Rod and Lowell sign. Because this crop of free agents isn’t exactly giving anyone goosebumps. Well, not the good kind, anyway.

  3. Jojo Fireball says:

    Just a note, Josh Phelps is not Joe Crede’s replacement in Chicago, it’s Josh Fields… And Fields has proven a very solid and worthy replacement both offensively and defensively both…

  4. Re: Abe Nunez – his nickname over on Beerleaguer blog was ‘No-hit’ [Nunez]. Light-hitting would be putting it.. lightly.

  5. Sarah Green says:

    Joe, indeed, how many different ways is there to say, “Couldn’t hit the pavement if he tripped”?

    @Jojo, indeed, Josh Fields is the 3B everyone wishes they had right now (well, except the Mets and the Marlins). Cheap, young, and he hits for power (if not quite for average).

  6. One thing to keep an eye on in the 3rd base market is what the Dodgers do. They have Nomar on the books for 2008. They may make a play for A-Rod. But what about prospect Andy LaRoche? Will Torre use him? If not, he might be available.

  7. Sarah Green says:

    Can Nomar even play third at this point? I feel like he might dive for a liner and smash into a hundred little shards of Nominess.

  8. Well, no, not really. At least not well. He split time at 3rd and 1st last year, I think. And I think before he got hurt and shut it down in September, he was still playing third.

    But I have no idea if Torre is thinking the same thing.

  9. Nick Kapur says:

    The Dodgers resigned Nomar to a two-year deal last winter to play first base, completely blocking their best hitting prospect James Loney, but Nomar OPS’d about .625 for four months, and meanwhile Wilson Betemit was battling it out with the Mendoza line, so finally the Dodgers shifted Nomar to third, shipped Betemit to the Yanks for Proctor, and handed Loney the job at first where he proceeded to bat about .335 and OPS over .900.

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