November 13, 2012 by Matt Musico
Shortly after finishing a five-year/$90 million deal he signed with the Angels prior to the 2008 season, Torii Hunter expressed his desire to stay with Los Angeles, and the organization initially felt the same way, and it looked like there was a strong possibility of the 37-year-old outfielder re-signing with the team. However, it now looks as though Hunter will put himself on the market, after the Angels extended a one-year/$5 million offer to him after making $18 million this past season. Needless to say, Torii was not happy with that offer after posting a .313/.365/.451 line with 16 homers and 92 RBI in 2012:
“They never offered me anything worth considering. It actually was very disrespectful, what was offered.” -quote via MLB Trade Rumors
It’s fair for Hunter and his representation to be slightly mad with the offer they received from the Angels after looking at what he’s done; throughout his time with the organization, he hit 20+ homers four times, drove in 80+ runs four times, scored 80+ runs three times, while also being selected to two All-Star games, winning two Gold Glove, and one Silver Slugger. According to MLBTR, up to 14 teams have inquired about his services, with the Tigers, Rangers, and Braves, being the most forward. It’s not surprising for Hunter to be drawing so much interest around the league, and he’ll likely get the two-year deal worth $10-15 million per season he’s looking for because if a team wants him bad enough, they will overpay.
While I understand why Torii was insulted by the offer he received, he needs to get a grip. What he wants more than anything is to win a World Series; he was quoted in that MLBTR article stating that he’d cross lines to the National League after spending his entire career in the AL if a team is ready to win. Although the Angels missed the playoffs last season, it’s fair to say they’re ready to win in 2013 with the pieces they have in place. If he values being comfortable where he is (which is part of the reason why he signed with LAA in ’08), then he would swallow is pride and take the pay cut. It’s not like he needs the money for his well-being…he’s made plenty of it throughout his career.
This is another prime example of a player in his mid-to-late 30s that wants to be paid for what he’s done in the past instead of what’s expected of him in the future. With Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, and Mark Trumbo on top of the depth charts in the outfield for 2013, Hunter would likely be a fourth outfielder/designated hitter. Should the Angels pay him over $10 million for a role like that, and commit to him for more than one year? Absolutely not. Hunter is used to having job security because he’s had it throughout his career with the Twins and Angels, and he hasn’t realized that’s not a guarantee anymore now that he’s toward the end of his career. David Ortiz realized that (even though the Red Sox just inked him to a two-year extension) and respects his organization’s reasoning behind it.
So, I understand where you’re coming from, Torii, but it’s time to come to the realization that he will not be treated like a superstar anymore. Even though he’s had a great career, what he’s done the last 16 years (or even last year) shouldn’t inflate his salary for next season and beyond.