MLB Rumors: New York Yankees a Fit for Torii Hunter
There are several MLB rumors flying around surrounding the New York Yankees interest in Torii Hunter. This makes sense on several levels for the Yankees, most notably Hunter was not offered a qualifying offer by the Los Angeles Angels which means there will be no draft pick compensation and Hunter will only require a short-term deal.
The Yankees are faced with the possible impending departures of Nick Swisher, Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, and Ichiro Suzuki from their outfield. Swisher is all but gone from the Yankees plans and GM Brian Cashman was not optimistic about bringing Ibanez back after his postseason heroics probably priced himself out of the Yankees plans. Jones is almost certainly gone as well after an extremely poor showing in the second half.
Suzuki has expressed an interest in returning to the Yankees and I believe he will assume the starting right fielder’s job unless another team offers him a larger contract.
If Suzuki does come back, the Yankee outfield would feature Brett Gardner, Suzuki, and Curtis Granderson, an above-average defensive outfield that, with the exception of Granderson, lacks pop.
Adding Hunter would add depth, even if Hunter doesn’t repeat last season’s success that saw him hit .313 with 16 homers and 92 RBI. The Yankees could sign both Hunter and Suzuki and dabble with the idea of trading Granderson, who is slated to be a free agent after next season, or Gardner, who might bring in a decent haul given his inexpensive contract and skill set.
In my opinion, it makes the most sense to pursue Hunter as a fourth outfielder/designated hitter in the same mold that Ibanez served this past season, only with more defensive ability. What would not be good for the Yankees is asking a player that will be 38-year-old to contribute on a day-in-day-out basis.
The key is to keep any and all commitments to short-term so as not to have tons of money committed long-term to contracts that would hinder the development of prospects like Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, Zoilo Almonte, and Ravel Santana. Torri Hunter would be an excellent short-term fit for the long-term goal of the Yankees.