Torii Hunter Would Be Perfect Fit for Underachieving New York Yankees

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Torii Hunter #48 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits a two run double to take the lead against the Texas Rangers in game one of the double header at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 30, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

The New York Yankees offense went missing against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS and, knowing how the Yankees operate, that means change is likely on the way. One player that has been mentioned and would be a terrific fit is Torii Hunter.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports the team is interested in the veteran outfielder, who has spent the past five seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. Since the Angels didn't make a qualifying offer, the Yankees wouldn't have to give up a draft pick to sign him.

Hunter is coming off a resurgent season with the Angels where he hit .313 with 16 home runs and 92 runs batted in 140 games. His 5.3 WAR (Fangraphs) was the highest of in his career and the .365 on-base percentage was his second-best total.

The 37-year-old nine-time Gold Glove winner has also benefited from moving to right field, where he posted a plus-24 DRS (defensive runs saved) over the past two seasons. Those numbers are actually better than some of his award-winning years.

All told, Hunter can still perform at a high level despite the fact he's approaching 40. Assuming the Yankees don't bring back Nick Swisher, who struggled mightily in the postseason, he would be an ideal short-term replacement.

The one area where Hunter would really provide a boost is in the clubhouse, and that's probably where the Yankees need one most. It often seems like they were 25 players with 25 completely different agendas throughout the season.

In the past, there have been Yankees teams good enough to overcome that lack of clubhouse unity in order to win championships. But as other teams have closed that gap in recent years, the flaws have become more obvious.

Hunter is the consummate professional with an infectious positive attitude. He's exactly what the Yankees need to bring the team together in times when they would normally be driven apart, such as a couple games into the Tigers series.

Between him and Derek Jeter, the Yankees would have the type of veteran leadership necessary to overcome the difficult moments instead of crumbling like a house of cards. Hunter is one player that likely wouldn't be daunted by the New York challenge.

The Yankees are a unique franchise. It's basically championship or bust every season, and they need more players who are willing to take that goal on. 

Add in the fact Hunter can still hit and field, and it's easy to see why he's the type of player the Yankees are going to target in free agency.

He would be a perfect addition.