Torii Hunter: Deal for Tigers of Will Bode Well for Other Free Agents

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2012

Sept. 23, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels right fielder Torii Hunter (48) makes the final out of the game on a running catch in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium. Angels won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Torii Hunter is 37 years old, hasn't hit more than 25 home runs in five years, has knocked in more than 100 RBI just twice in his career and recently signed a two-year, $26 million contract with the Detroit Tigers.

You can bet free agents like Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino and even Melkey Cabrera started salivating when they saw that.

If nothing else, Hunter certainly set up the market on a profitable note for them.

Now, the true market won't be set until Hamilton is signed. Once the big fish falls, the smaller fish will slot in at contracts underneath the precedent set in the given offseason. This year, there is no bigger name on the market than Hamilton. 

But if you consider the money Hunter got—especially for players in their 30s like Hamilton, Swisher and Victorino—the prospects look good for outfielders this winter.

Now, I don't want to under-sell Hunter too much. He's still a good fielder, he's hit 90 or more RBI in five of the past seven seasons and he's coming off a season when he hit a career-high .313, so he's still got some gas in the tank.

Then again, it's the first time in his career he's hit over .300 for a season. Sorry, but I can't help but think that Hunter was overpaid by the Tigers. And honestly, I wouldn't have gone over a one-year deal for the slugger.

Here's what the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim thought he was worth, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times:

The Angels declined to present Hunter with a qualifying offer—one year at $13 million—thus forfeiting the compensatory draft pick they would have received since he signed elsewhere. Hunter dismissed the only offer the Angels made—one year at $5 million—as "low ball" to The Times and "disrespectful" to CBS Sports.

[General Manager] Jerry Dipoto declined to respond to Hunter's characterizations of the offer.

Kudos to Hunter for getting a nice deal. And congratulations to all of the other free agents who will capitalize on the money he's just made.

One fish has been snared, and he left plenty of dollars in his wake.


Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets can handle as many Hall of Fame egos as you like.

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