Tigers Front-Runners in Torii Hunter Race

Torii Hunter

In a report by Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, Torii Hunter wants a ring. That gives Hunter only a couple of options. He can sign with the Rangers, whose ballpark isn’t far from the outfielder’s home, or he can give the American League Champions a shot, and join the cast of stars in Detroit.

If you’re thinking he’ll go wherever the money calls, think again. Last spring, Hunter told Knobler:

“Money has nothing to do with any decision I would make. I want a ring.”

Barring a trade, the players Detroit might look at if they don’t get Hunter are Nick Swisher and Justin Upton (whom the Tigers have been courting over the last week). Neither of these options are as good a fit as Hunter would be in Detroit, on and off the field. Arizona might ask for a package of Tigers prospects Drew Smyly, Avisail Garcia, and RHP Rick Porcello, which makes a deal for Upton unlikely.

With a departing Delmon Young (also taking his baggage with him), the Tigers may opt to avoid any question marks in the search for an established corner outfielder. That leaves Hunter.

Last offseason, Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch made it clear he wants to win, and he wants to win now. With the offseason injury to Victor Martinez, Ilitch gave GM David Dombrowski the green light to sign Prince Fielder to the fifth largest contract in the history of organized sports (9 years, $214MM).

Who’s to say Ilitch and Dombrowski won’t do it again, and bring in veteran outfielder Torii Hunter? Obviously, the 37 year old won’t pull in a mind-boggling sum, but for a 1-2 year contract, whoever lands him will most likely be paying a premium based on the current market for corner outfielders.

Hunter will “sign soon” as is evidenced by history. His 2007 signing with the Angels was announced on Thanksgiving.

Turkey Day is right around the corner. If the Tigers get their way, they’ll be having their stuffing and eating it too.

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Tomas Laverty
Tomas Laverty, frequent contributor to the MLB section, runs a Detroit web design company called Detroit Spaces.