Detroit Tigers Appear To Be “Frontrunner” To Sign Torii Hunter


Sep 28, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels right fielder Torii Hunter (48) bats during the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark. The Angels beat the Rangers 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

General manager Dave Dombrowski hinted that signing an everyday corner outfielder would be the top priority for the club this off-season. The Detroit Tigers may be close to landing their guy.

Torii Hunter is reportedly looking to sign somewhere “soon,” and the Tigers appear to be the most interested party. From Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles:

"Torii Hunter told MLB Network on Monday morning that he’s going to wrap up a decision about where to sign quickly, and a source indicated that the timeframe is about two weeks.The most aggressive pursuer thus far has been the Detroit Tigers, the team most likely to offer Hunter a two-year deal, a shot at his first World Series and an every-day job."

Some positive tidbits here: it sounds like Hunter is more likely to be chasing rings than money. He likely wants the extra security of a two-year deal, but that type of contract isn’t going to break the bank for the Tigers. I had thought that someone would perhaps offer him a three year deal, but it sounds like that may not be the case, and even if he got that offer he might he might turn it down if it didn’t come from a contending team.

CBS Sports’ Scott Miller agrees with this sentiment and also picks the Tigers as a great match:

"when you scan the landscape for potential fits, it’s hard to find one more compatible than Detroit…The guy wants to win a ring, desperately, and right now this is as much about positioning himself to win one as it is anything else."

And these two aren’t the only one’s spreading the rumor that the Tigers are the lead team either. ESPN’s Jim Bowden is hearing the same thing from his “sources”.

But things aren’t necessarily lining up perfectly for the Tigers. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports also labels Detroit as the “frontrunner” to land Hunter, but notes that the Texas Rangers – who also seem like a good fit – are in hot pursuit as well.

"Or Hunter could go to the Rangers, where he could help make up for the expected departure of Josh Hamilton. The Rangers could also be a perfect fit for Hunter, an Arkansas native who makes his home in Prosper, Texas, not far from Rangers Ballpark."

Either way it sounds like we’ll know in the next couple of weeks. As a quality all-around player, Hunter is the near-ideal candidate to fill the Tigers’ outfield need – with the caveat that his deal pays him as a 2-3 WAR player not a 5-6 WAR player – but there are others that could provide somewhat similar value as well so missing out here wouldn’t be the end of the world.

(h/t: MLB Trade Rumors)