Torii Hunter: Veteran Outfielder Doesn't Make Sense for Rebuilding Red Sox

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 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 Boston Red Sox must change the direction of their franchise. That doesn't just go for management—the entire roster should be in rebuilding mode.

Signing veteran players makes sense for some teams, but not for Boston. Allowing youngsters like Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava to play alongside Jacoby Ellsbury makes more sense, rather than bringing in a 37-year-old player who is well into the back side of his career.

According to WEEI reporter Rob Bradford, the Red Sox are showing interest in the 15-year veteran:

Source: Red Sox interested in Torii Hunter (complete with comments from chief recruiter, David Ortiz)…

— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) November 6, 2012

It's not that Hunter can't play anymore. He's definitely taken a step back from his All-Star days, but he did hit .313 with 16 home runs and 92 RBI last season. At first glance, that makes him a solid addition.

But you have to consider his age and the direction Boston is heading. What's the sense of having guys like Kalish and Nava if you're going to sit or platoon them? Neither player figures to be a superstar, but they're there for a reason.

Bringing in Hunter seems a lot like bringing in Mike Cameron in 2010. Cameron was another high-character veteran who was capable of playing any spot in the outfield, but he flopped. He hit .259 in 2010 and failed to break .150 in 2011 with the club. Adding guys with this type of reputation is intriguing, but Boston is at a serious crossroads.

The franchise needs to get younger. Developing a young core is the key to getting the organization back on the right path, and an infusion of older position players doesn't help that process. It's one thing to add a veteran innings-eater to the back of the rotation, but Hunter doesn't fit.

It's important to build around guys like Jose Iglesias and Will Middlebrooks in the field. They are the future of the franchise, and guys like Xander Bogaerts are on the way.

The Red Sox must look toward the future this offseason rather than adopt a strict win-now attitude. Picking up the pieces from two straight disappointing seasons is important, but that doesn't mean that they must spend foolishly.

Hunter probably wouldn't start, but he shouldn't take time away from anyone on Boston's roster right now. It's important for this team to win tomorrow as well as today.