Hunter may be the vocal leader and face of the Angels franchise, but his performance does not justify his salary. The Halos owe him $18 million this year and $18 million in 2012.
Hunter’s offense has been below average this year—.242/.325/.397—and at this stage of his career, he’s no longer an elite outfielder.
The Angels will surely want to extend the contracts of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and other key players. Is it time for management to consider trading Torii Hunter so they can pay other players who are actually performing?
If they do, here are five possible trade scenarios.
Brett Gardner and Torii Hunter are both good outfielders, but Gardner makes about $17 million less.
While Hunter’s stats are down this season, he has a proven bat and can hit with a lot more power than Gardner can.
The New York Yankees are always in “win now” mode and would be willing to take on Hunter’s salary if they feel he can add value for the next two seasons.
The L.A. Dodgers promoted outfielder Jerry Sands to the big leagues after only 10 games in Triple-A Albuquerque.
At the time of his call up, Sands had a .400 batting average and hit five home runs in just 10 games.
While he has been subpar since making the pros, he has shown that he has true talent and can hit for power. Sands is a natural outfielder but can also play first base—a position where the Angels lack depth.
The Dodgers have faced a lot of negative publicity during the first two months of the season. Trading for a recognizable face like Hunter could be just what they need.
He plays outfield and first base, can hit the ball with power and has good plate discipline. The only drawback is that he’s only 19 and will take a few years to develop.
Ben Francisco is a throw-in who could help the Angels get through the season while Singleton and other prospects continue to develop. Francisco is only due $1.2 million this year and his contract ends at the end of the season.
The Phillies could use another outfielder and have the financial means to take on Hunter’s contract. They could use a good clubhouse guy as they aggressively pursue another championship.
After an amazing run to start the season, the Cleveland Indians are coming back down to earth.
Over their last nine games they are 3-6. There is no relief in sight as the schedule only gets tougher from here.
The Indians are a young team and could use someone with Hunter’s positive attitude and veteran presence to guide them as they race for the pennant.
Shin-Soo Choo’s 2011 stats are similar to Hunter’s, but he gets paid far less and his contract ends at the end of the season.
A Hunter-for-Choo trade would make a lot of sense for both parties.
The Red Sox entered 2011 with lofty expectations. Anything short of a ring would be a failure.
Mike Cameron is not getting it done this year and it’s time to acquire another bat.
For the most part, Cameron and Hunter are fairly comparable players. They both have multiple Gold Gloves and are past their prime.
Cameron is in the last year of a modest contract while Hunter is still owed superstar money through 2012.
Acquiring Cameron may not help the Angels in the near term, but it would free up the burden of Hunter’s contract and allow them to give extensions to players who are producing.
Halos fans might not like the trade, but Cameron is a good outfielder who can play right field until the Angels sign a marquee outfielder in the offseason.
Sometimes you have to take a step back before you can move forward.