Where He Starts He Ends?
According to according to a source at ESPN.com, Torii Hunter has agreed to a 1 year deal with the Minnasota Twins calculating to $10.5 million.
Well Twin fans, he is back! Torii may not have as much stamina as he did when he was drafted back in 1993 at 18 years old, but he has never been farther from his 40th birthday. The last 2 seasons he has averaged to play in 143 games with a .295 batting average and proved that he is still good enough to pick up an award (2013 silver slugger). He also has shown many flashes of all his former 7 gold glove awards putting a .987 fielding percentage in the books.
What this means for the cold state of Minnesota is that the temperature may be rising as one of the hottest hitting 39 year olds possibly in the last decade or so is blazing into town. Mr. Gold Glove will make his biggest impact as a veteran leader especially to the young .319 batting average talent of Danny Santana and the struggling 28 year old minor league veteran Jordan Shafer. Going into last season the Twins were hoping to fill the big gaps in the infield and outfield as well as the pitching rotation. So they depended on the young stud Brian Dozier and newly converted 1B Joe Mauer to help out in the infield while their shortstop Escobar developed among them with struggling Trevor Plouffe over at 3rd. In the outfield they were in desperate need of someone catching fire. At the end of the season the picture was ugly; well at least on paper it was, but if looked at closely something special could be seen. The center fielder Santana had a remarkable rookie campaign and so did the right fielder Oswaldo Arcia. As for the infield: Dozier had an all star like first half (in fact he led the voting at 2B for a while) and Joe Mauer provided some solid veteran leadership despite the fact he fell from an A batter to a C+ batter, while Kurt Suzuki opened some eyes behind/at the plate, which made him the representative of the Twins in the all star game along with Perkins. Adding Torii Hunter, another veteran to the locker room who translates the same way onto the field, could push these young Twin position players to give Minnesota a playoff birth in 2016 after graduating from Torii Hunter school in 2015.
This was not the huge move that the Twins needed to make to compete in 2015, but it was big considering the small amount they spent and the impact it will have on the near future, considering the fact that the Gardenhire firing (and hiring of Molitor) could be a signal that 2015 will be the year they train to compete in 2016.
Grade on signing: A because it was cheap and sneaky.