When the Minnesota Twins let outfielder Torii Hunter leave via free agency after the 2007 season, it was widely expected that by the end of the five-year, $90 million deal he signed with the Los Angeles Angels he would most likely be done as a useful major league player. But after Sunday’s action he is hitting .295 with 12 home runs and 55 RBI this season at age 37 and in the final year of that contract. He was away from the team for a time on a leave of absence when his son was arrested earlier this summer, hence the relatively low at-bat total (352) for this point in the season.
Hunter has apparently expressed some interest in finishing his career with the Twins, who drafted him in 1993 and he spent the early part of his major league career with. Hunter won seven consecutive Gold Gloves in his time with Minnesota (2001-2007) and was also a two-time All-Star (2002, 2007) during that stretch. Over nine full seasons with the Twins from 1999-2007, Hunter hit .271 with 192 home runs, 709 RBI and 126 stolen bases along with a .469 slugging percentage.
Should the Twins have interest in bringing Hunter back? There are certainly more pressing needs on the roster than adding another outfielder to the mix, namely pitching, and the Twins’ minor league system has some outfield depth at all levels with Aaron Hicks, Joe Benson and others likely knocking on the door to make an impact at the major league level over the next few years. It can also be assumed Hunter would want to play for a contender, perhaps close to his offseason home with the Texas Rangers, and the Twins can’t be consider close to regaining that status right now.
Hunter would most likely not be looking for another huge contract at this stage of his career, and if the Twins feel like they can make a few moves this winter and become a contender in 2013 there may be a fit financially and with Hunter in right field. That would mean the team would have to seriously entertain trading Denard Span this winter, which would open up centerfield for Ben Revere on a every day basis.