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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Angels - Signed Hunter
Los Angeles Angels - Signed CF Torii Hunter to a 5-year, $90 million contract.
Well, they’re finally signing the player that they thought Gary Matthews Jr. is rather than the player that Gary Matthews Jr. actually is - a power-hitting centerfielder with a good glove. And unlike Sarge Lite, I don’t expect Hunter to play at a level that makes the contract a failure from day one.
However, Hunter’s not a good enough player to be worth the money at a corner spot if his defense slips - his defense isn’t the best in the league (ZR has him at +4 runs per year in recent years, PMR around average, I don’t have the UZRs handy, but I don’t recall Hunter being anything but average-good since 2004) and he’s not a good enough hitter to be much better than average in a corner, even assuming his offense doesn’t decline at all, a big if for a 32-36 year-old.
It shouldn’t be a millstone, at least. A lot depends on what they do with Matthews. If they realize that Matthews isn’t the centerfielder and can’t hit anywhere near well enough to play left or right and consider him a sunk cost, it’s a good thing, but if they use it to give Matthews 150 games a year in right (with Vlad shifting) or at DH, they’re already canceling out a huge chunk of Hunter’s positive value. Maybe this is a prelude to a Marlins trade? There were talks of the Dodgers eating a huge chunk Pierre’s contract and sending him to Florida, maybe the Angels have it in mind to do the same thing with Sargeito?
This is however, a better move for the Angels than it would have been for the other teams rumored to be involved. Hunter doesn’t get either the White Sox or Rangers into real playoff contention. And if he had signed with the Dodgers, there’s a very good chance that Kemp would be better soon, if he isn’t already.
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