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Bradford: Red Sox interested in Torii Hunter


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#1 Corsi


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:31 AM

According to a baseball source, the Red Sox have shown interest in free agent outfielder Torii Hunter.

The 37 year-old (who turns 38 in July) has expressed interest in playing in Boston in the past, in large part because of the presence of his longtime friend, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz.

"I'm open to anybody, especially if David is there," Hunter told WEEI.com in late August. "David is one of my guys. We were roommates in Minnesota and he's one of my brothers. He's one of my best friends in baseball. That makes it more impressive."

Monday night, after a press conference announcing his new two-year, $26 million deal with the Red Sox, Ortiz said he had already been in touch with Hunter regarding the possibility of coming to the Red Sox.

"I talked to him the other day because he heard Texas was going to try and sign me, because his mind might have changed. He said, 'If I was going to think about Boston it is because you are there.' I told him not to worry," Ortiz said.

http://www.weei.com/...ed-torii-hunter

#2 tims4wins


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:38 AM

Mike Cameron redux... pass

#3 jsinger121


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:44 AM

Mike Cameron redux... pass


Was thinking the same thing myself. Rather not plug an aging player in on a 2 year deal and would rather let young kids earn their wings.

#4 mt8thsw9th


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:45 AM

Mike Cameron redux... pass


It's only "redux" if they sign him to a similar contract (and he gets injured). If he would take an incentive-laden deal, he's worth at least discussing. He's still a productive player that plays a great corner OF. Why not at least inquire? If Hamilton and his 4.4 WAR is worth 20MM/year, Torii and his 5.3 might be an interesting option for a season.

Given his comments in past years about the crowds in Boston, I figured the reaction from his camp would be tepid at best, but the comments above hint otherwise.

Edited by mt8thsw9th, 06 November 2012 - 10:47 AM.


#5 Philip Jeff Frye


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:50 AM

Mike Cameron redux... pass

Seriously. This would seem like just spinning our wheels, giving some old dude playing time for no real purpose. At least Cameron was supposed to be a valuable part timer on competitive team. This seems like a move out of the late-Gorman/early-Duquette era when the Sox were just looking for bodies to fill out the lineup.

#6 opes


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:50 AM

If he thinks he's getting anything close to the $18 mil he was paid last year, hes dreaming.

#7 Red(s)HawksFan


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:53 AM

I'd be good with Hunter provided the deal is such that both he and the team are comfortable with his role being reduced should a youngster make a big jump and earn more playing time. In other words, as long as he's not going to block a Brentz or a Kalish from getting regular playing time should they be more deserving/productive than Hunter, and he won't be a pouty whiny baby about losing PT, I don't see a real downside to a Cameron-esque deal.

Personally, I'm not comfortable just handing starting jobs to kids just because of some perception that the team is "rebuilding". If they need a veteran to bridge a gap, they should go for it.

Edited by Red(s)HawksFan, 06 November 2012 - 10:54 AM.


#8 JMDurron

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:10 AM

It's not like signing an aging veteran and playing the kids are mutually exclusive, anyway. The veteran(s) will most likely be injured at some point during the season anyway, giving some playing time to those younger players, but without making the team completely dependent on the production of those younger players from Opening Day through September.

#9 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:10 AM

If Hamilton and his 4.4 WAR is worth 20MM/year, Torii and his 5.3 might be an interesting option for a season.


That 5.3 was the best fWAR of Hunter's career, topping his 4.8 at age 26 in 2002. When a 36-year-old has the best WAR season of his career, do you:

a) Assume a statistical anomaly of some kind (and confirm that assumption with a quick look at his numbers);
b) Project a sharp downward correction in the following year;
c) Realize that somebody is going to pay too much for last year's unrepeatable performance, and resolve that it won't be you;
d) All of the above?

If you checked "d," go to the head of the class.

In theory, there's nothing wrong with the idea of signing Hunter for two years to hold the fort while we wait for Brentz etc. to be ready. He can still play, though his offense is declining and we'd need to keep our expectations realistic. But I think what it's going to take to sign him is going to be a pretty serious overpay in light of his misleading 2012. If we can get him for something like 2/17, OK. But I suspect someone else will go higher than that.

#10 TheYaz67

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:10 AM

I know Torii has "improved with age" in the OBP category, but his lifetime is .335 OBP, and his "high" .365 OBP in 2012 was very dependent on his .313. BA, since he drew only 38 walks in almost 600 plate appearances this year. Given how this team has struggled recently in the OBP category (after being so dominant in OBP for so many years), I would be concerned about bringing in an aging Hunter at anything less than a "bargain" deal, and I suspect that Hunter thinks he should get a deal that pays him at least half his current salary of $18M annually, so pass....

#11 rembrat


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:18 AM

I thought he said he would never play in Boston or was that Gary Mathews Jr?

#12 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:20 AM

I thought he said he would never play in Boston or was that Gary Mathews Jr?


No, that was Torii.

His BABIP in 2012 was .389. This guy is due for a huge regression. Pass.

#13 Sausage in Section 17


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:24 AM

Rather not plug an aging player in on a 2 year deal and would rather let young kids earn their wings.


Didn't the kids try their wings out all year? Kalish is the only guy in the pipe with a chance to make much of an impact this year, anyway, right?

If the money's right, I don't see why not. If you assume we need to improve on what we currently have, and that Hamilton is off the list, who would be better?

#14 Rasputin


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:38 AM

As with every outfielder who has a reasonable chance of being above replacement, if the dollars are low enough and the contract is short enough, sign me up.

#15 Dick Pole Upside

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:19 PM

Even with the expected regression, offensively and defensively he's better than Kalish and Nava. Brentz isn't ready. If the price/term is right, sign him up. If he wants more than say 2/$16 (total), pass.

#16 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:36 PM

Lump me in with the "depends on the contract" crowd. He's old enough that there is a significant chance he's going to fall off a cliff. Add in his high BABIP in 2012 and I wouldn't assume anything better than a .750 OPS with somewhere around league average defense in right field. He doesn't appear to be capable of playing center well anymore, but should be capable of handling either corner.

If it's two years or one year with a team or vesting option on an incentive laden deal, I'm interested. He shouldn't be brought as anything more than a bridge to a younger outfield, though. Moving him to the bench should Kalish, Brentz, Bradley or even Bogaerts (if he is moved off of short right away) step up and start producing should be something that is discussed before he signs and agreed upon. If he comes in expecting to be the starter for his entire contract, there has been a communication failure of some kind.

#17 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:39 PM

Bradford is now reporting that the Sox are drawing the line at two years for Ross and Ross is drawing interest from other teams willing to go three. So the likelihood of Hunter being our 2013 RF seems to be going up.

The idea is starting to grow on me, even though it seems likely that Hunter will cost at least 2/20 and that this will turn out to be an overpay. We'd miss Ross's power--I'd be happy to get a .450 SLG from Hunter at this point, and that's pretty much Ross's baseline--but Hunter is at worst a match for Ross in most other respects, and probably still a better defender and a better fit to play Fenway's RF. And even if it's an overpay, it'll be a moderate, short-term overpay, of exactly the kind the Punto deal gave us the flexibility for.

So, what the heck. We could do a lot worse.

#18 SaveBooFerriss


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 01:38 PM

This 2012 BABIP scares me, but I think the Cameron comparison is lazy. Hunter has been a far superior player to Cameron over their respective careers.

#19 dylanmarsh

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 01:50 PM

Heyman and his unnamed expert are throwing predictions out there for 42 free agents. Heyman has Hunter getting $30MM over 2 years and the UE has it at $22MM over 2 years. No thank you.

#20 Tangled Up In Red

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 01:55 PM

Bowden on espn (insider) has him at 2/20.

#21 ScubaSteveAvery


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:00 PM

I don't think Hunter is going to be a good bet to even fulfill the value of a two year contract. Over the last 5 years his strikeout rates, and ISO have been trending in the wrong direction. His walk rate plummeted last year because he mainly just started hacking. His swing% (using pitchfx) jumped 5% last year to 50% after spending the previous three years at 45%. I would have guessed that his contact% would be higher based on the BABIP and triple slash stats, but his contact rate actually dropped to 74.5% which is the lowest out of all the years pitchFX has been keeping track. His oswing% jumped 33.8%. He turned into a hacker this year, and it paid off,but his lack of plate discipline and decreased contact% is problematic, especially as he nears 40.

Also, his power has been declining, and his spray chart from 2012 shows that most of his power is actually to the opposite field, which is bad for Fenway. Historically he's also a slight pull hitter, so the amount of opposite field activity is concerning, because it might show that he is now late making contact. That cluster of deep left-center field hits are still there, but a lot more are going to right field now:

Posted Image

Edited by ScubaSteveAvery, 06 November 2012 - 02:09 PM.


#22 Bdanahy14

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:24 PM

I don't know.. to me this is exactly the kind of player I want them to look at right now. Don't need to give him many years, he has a proven and consistent track record of production, a skill set that ages nicely. I want to avoid the 4-5 year deals for 31-32 year old players coming into FA.

It will depend on the contract; but even with his likely regression.. there is a lot of meat left on the bone. He has never posted a sub 2.4 WAR. The Sox only had 3 offensive players with a WAR over 2.5 last year - and one of them plays for the Dodgers now.

I think you can safely assume he'll post at least .270/.330/.440. And a solid chance at slightly higher BA/OBP and a slug closer to 470/480.

Low risk, high reward opportunity I think. Chance at 6-7 WAR over the next two season. Worst case scenario 3-4 WAR.

#23 geoduck no quahog


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:39 PM

I don't know.. to me this is exactly the kind of player I want them to look at right now. Don't need to give him many years, he has a proven and consistent track record of production, a skill set that ages nicely. I want to avoid the 4-5 year deals for 31-32 year old players coming into FA.


And the team may need to combine some veteran talent along with the kids and mid-levels. I think there's benefit to that, particularly in a pennant race.

The experienced vets on the team right now are:

Ortiz
Lackey

(I'd put Pedroia, Lester and Buchholz at mid-level, albeit they bring playoff experience to the table)

Or maybe I'm just prejudiced for old people...like Stiffy.

#24 TheYellowDart5


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:46 PM

I'm also against the idea of Hunter, mainly because he's old, will be in demand, and his 2012 season came out of left field (as it were). What I don't understand, though, is this belief that signing Hunter (or someone like him) will block the young ones in the outfield.

Honest question: Does anyone here expect any of Kalish, Brentz, or Bradley to contribute anything in 2013? Why are people so worried about blocking players who aren't Major League-ready yet? A two-year deal to an established Major Leaguer will not ruin the youth movement. In fact, it'd probably help protect against those players being rushed to the Majors.

#25 ScubaSteveAvery


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:53 PM

One thing I noticed when looking at Hunter's stats is that his plate discipline was much better with the Angels than the Twins. Same with his oWAA (I don't like using "replacement level" since its not a really a useful barometer), which has been above 2 wins only twice in his career, and both times came when he was with the Angels. But, Hunter's place discipline was awful this year, and I'm curious to know how much of that can be attributed to the loss of Mickey Hatcher?

#26 dylanmarsh

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 03:07 PM

One thing I noticed when looking at Hunter's stats is that his plate discipline was much better with the Angels than the Twins. Same with his oWAA (I don't like using "replacement level" since its not a really a useful barometer), which has been above 2 wins only twice in his career, and both times came when he was with the Angels. But, Hunter's place discipline was awful this year, and I'm curious to know how much of that can be attributed to the loss of Mickey Hatcher?


I was just about to post something about his 2012 plate discipline. Swinging at 35.3% (4.5% above the avg) of pitches outside the strike zone, while only making contact 74.9% (4.8% below the avg) of the time and holding a .389 BABIP, makes me wonder what he truly has left in the tank. Are these numbers simply a product of a contract year and Hunter trying to secure one last big contract?

#27 j44thor

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 03:26 PM

This 2012 BABIP scares me, but I think the Cameron comparison is lazy. Hunter has been a far superior player to Cameron over their respective careers.


Wait what? Cameron is probably as close a comp to Hunter as you can get. Lazy would be not realizing Cameron has a slightly higher career OBP and was a much better defensive OF. Hunter has better power but the difference between his power and Cameron's D is probably a wash from a value perspective.

Taking a closer look at the #'s it is really crazy how similar they are.

Cameron career 7884 PAs with an ISO of .195 and a wOBA of .341
Hunter career 7887 PAs wtih an ISO of .190 and a wOBA of .345

#28 MikeM

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 03:52 PM

Even with the expected regression, offensively and defensively he's better than Kalish and Nava. Brentz isn't ready. If the price/term is right, sign him up. If he wants more than say 2/$16 (total), pass.


This.

A year ago i would have been first in line stating we take a pass, but if we are now at the point of even speculating whether or not giving Cody Ross a 3 year contract is a good idea (it isn't), we could end up doing a lot worse imo.

Front load the contract if possible too please.

#29 HangingW/ScottCooper

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:16 PM

I think Hunter on anything more than a 1 year deal is a mistake. I would much rather go to 3 years on Ross than 2 years on Hunter.

Edited by HangingW/ScottCooper, 06 November 2012 - 05:20 PM.


#30 rembrat


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:24 PM

Why is it an either or. I wouldn't do either for more than a year. You do Ortiz at 2 years + option because he is the best DH in the league.

Multi years for aging, injury prone OFers? Meh.

#31 xjack


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:25 PM

Please no.... Everything about Hunter's 2012 peripherals screamed WARNING. His K rate rose from 19% to 23%. His walk rate dipped from 9% to 6%. His BABIP soared from .297 to .389 (explaining the lofty .321 BA). His groundball/flyball ratio was the highest of his career at 2.05. This is the profile of an aging, declining ballplayer who is going to be overpaid because his mainstream stats were pretty good.

#32 Edelpeddle

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:41 PM

Here's Mike Cameron the three years before we signed him: .245/.334/.452, 109 wRC+

And here's player A and player B the last three years. Which one is more similar to Cameron offensively?

A: .260/.324/.434, 104 wRC+
B: .285/.351/.448, 123 wRC+

#33 Edelpeddle

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:48 PM

Wait what? Cameron is probably as close a comp to Hunter as you can get. Lazy would be not realizing Cameron has a slightly higher career OBP and was a much better defensive OF. Hunter has better power but the difference between his power and Cameron's D is probably a wash from a value perspective.

Taking a closer look at the #'s it is really crazy how similar they are.

Cameron career 7884 PAs with an ISO of .195 and a wOBA of .341
Hunter career 7887 PAs wtih an ISO of .190 and a wOBA of .345


For the record, Ross has a .198 ISO and a wOBA of .338. and his defense is worse.

Edited by Edelpeddle, 06 November 2012 - 07:49 PM.


#34 Corsi


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Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:53 PM

Free agent outfielder Torii Hunter is generating “a lot of interest” from several teams, including the Red Sox, according to a major league source, and already has spoken to David Ortiz about the possibility of teaming up.

“He’s gotten a lot more attention that what I anticipated,” said the source, who suggested Hunter may even end up receiving offers for a duration of as long as three years despite being 37 years old.

Hunter is believed to be seeking an annual average salary that likely would fall right in line with Ortiz at $13 million a year.

According to another major league source, Hunter isn’t limited by geography, with his children poised to leave his Dallas home and head off to college. Moreover, Hunter would be willing to continue playing right field, where he played most of last season for the Angels, despite spending most of his career as a Gold Glove center fielder.

http://www.bostonher...sports/red_sox/

Yikes.

#35 budcrew08

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:59 PM

I wonder if he would go the incentive route. 2 for 20 mil, incentive to make up the difference.

#36 Corsi


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Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:00 PM

Industry source: Red Sox are interested in Torii Hunter and sides have talked but too early in process. Hunter is talking with other clubs.

https://twitter.com/ESPNJoeyMac/status/266690553704497153
link to tweet

#37 Dick Pole Upside

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 07:52 AM

Corsi's Cafardo avatar is inspired. Inspired.

#38 seantoo


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Posted 09 November 2012 - 11:41 PM

[url="http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/this-just-in/21238806/source-red-sox-interested-torii-hunter"]. So, what the heck. We could do a lot worse.

.
Maybe that should be the team's logo next year. Seriously they can do ALOT better (than signing Hunter) too, pass.

#39 Seels

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:08 AM

Honestly I'd rather have whatever AAAA flier than Hunter. Guy is a douche and an old one at that. He's not a good enough player to turn this club from mediocre to contender, and I'd rather just have a guy that is at least an easier dude to root for.

Besides, Angels casts offs really don't work out super well for the Red Sox. What's the best case scenario for Hunter, a 2.5 - 3 WAR player? I'll be really disappointed if they sign Hunter.

#40 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:09 AM

.
Seriously they can do ALOT better (than signing Hunter) too


Actually, when it comes to guys with RF experience, the only plausible alternatives to Hunter on the market are Ross, Ichiro and Swisher. The only one of those guys who would reasonably qualify as "a lot better" than Hunter in pure baseball terms is Swisher, and most people around here seem to think we would be stupid to sign Swisher to as big a contract as he'll get.

Of course if you open it up to include LF candidates as well (which assumes we stick Kalish in RF next year, I think), the field opens up to include guys like Melky and Gomes, but I'm not sure I'd say either of those guys is a lot better than Hunter either, at least not bankably so. There really aren't any middle-ground options this year, i.e., bankably pretty-good but not megabucks-good mid-career corner outfielders. Melky is probably the closest thing.

What's the best case scenario for Hunter, a 2.5 - 3 WAR player?


You realize that a 2.5 fWAR would have made him the fourth best position player on the Sox this year? And a 3.0 would have tied him with Ortiz for #2? There's nothing wrong with a 2.5-3 WAR player. We need more of them. We just have to be careful not to pay too much for them.

#41 Edelpeddle

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 07:50 PM

I wonder if Shane Victorino might make for a younger, less expensive version of Torri Hunter. The last two seasons, he's had a .337 wOBA to Hunter's .346 (without the benefit of a .340 BABIP) and he's probably better defensively. He's had a 19.3 UZR/150 as a LF the last three seasons. Could be a value if we decide to prioritize pitching and defense.

#42 Marbleheader


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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:17 AM

Free agent outfielder Torii Hunter told MLB Network on Monday morning that he's going to wrap up a decision about where to sign quickly, and a source indicated that the timeframe is about two weeks.

The most aggressive pursuer thus far has been the Detroit Tigers, the team most likely to offer Hunter a two-year deal, a shot at his first World Series and an every-day job.


http://espn.go.com/l...wo-weeks-source

If Hunter wants to chase a ring, obviously the Sox are not a good fit, but they probably can afford to pay him more. I'm not sure if getting into a bidding war for Hunter at this stage of his career is wise given the state of the franchise.

#43 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:19 PM

When he said quickly, he meant it:

The Tigers have agreed to sign Torii Hunter to a two-year deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Hunter obtains $26MM over two years, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter). The contract with the Reynolds Sports Management client is pending a physical


http://www.mlbtrader...rii-hunter.html

#44 pdaj

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 04:11 PM

Hunter fits in nicely with Detroit -- he's a clear upgrade over Boesch and he can rotate in and out of the DH spot with Young whenever needed. That said, I'm really surprised he was able to secure 12 million per.




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