Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The return of Torii Hunter

The news Tuesday night that the Twins and Torii Hunter had agreed on a one-year contract ($10.5 million, pending the physical) pretty much cemented this theory:

When Terry Ryan and (presumably) Paul Molitor look at this team, they see a different set of problems than I do.

I see a lineup that scores enough runs but has difficulty making enough plays in the field to help the pitching staff.

I'm not sure what they see that Hunter is going to fix.

I know this: Torii Hunter won't help the problems I see. He just gets in the way.

We can be sure of this: Signing Hunter is a strong indication that the Twins don't buy into the defensive metrics. Baseball Info System's Runs Saved metric says Hunter was the worst regular defensive right fielder in baseball last year. Not merely below average. The worst.

Those same numbers said Oswaldo Arcia was the third worst defensive right fielder in the majors. Now, presumably, Arcia will move to left field (where he looked even worse than in right in 2013), and the pitchers will continue to get blamed for all the balls that get to the gaps.

Everybody knew last year that Arcia and fellow corner outfielders Josh Willingham, Jason Kubel, Chris Parmelee and Chris Colabello had limited range, but we blamed the pitchers anyway. We're going to see the same stuff next summer, and we'll be even more inclined to blame the pitchers because we all remember Hunter as the most decorated defensive outfielder of his time.

I don't know what Hunter gets out of playing 2015 for a bad team. I don't know what the Twins get out of playing a 39/40 year-old outfielder. Hunter would be better off chasing his elusive ring with a team that has a real chance at it. The Twins would be better off playing the kids.

Both parties to this contract seem disconnected from reality.


  1. "Just Say NO!" was my reaction all along to the Torii-Twins reunion rumors. But now that it's a reality, I'm wondering if what the Twins have done is just hired a mentor (another coach from inside!) for Arcia, Hicks, Buxton, Rosario - our outfielders of the future. From Torii's perspective he may see it as a chance to follow in Kirby's footsteps and be for these guys what Puckett was for him. With the added bonus - for both groups - that, come trade deadline time, he may get flipped for a prospect to a team with a real chance for a ring. David

  2. Spending that much money on the "Over the Hill Gang" it is hard to sympathize with an insufficient budget excuse.