$90 Million for Torii Hunter? What Are the Angels Thinking?

Under no circumstance can I envision the Angels spending $90 million on Torii Hunter being a good deal. The reason why it caught everyone off-guard, Hunter included, is because the Angels grossly overpaid, and because Hunter probably never dreamed he would get that much. The Twins supposedly offered 3 years for $45, while the White Sox supposedly offered 5 for $75. That’s about right. I thought, and still believe, that Hunter is only worth around 5 for $65. So what makes this deal so horrible? Well, as Ben and I discussed at Obscure Sports Quarterly, it makes no sense on many levels. Let’s begin.

First of all, the Angels have set the free agent market extremely high, screwing many other teams, themselves included, for the future. Now Andruw Jones, Aaron Rowand, and Mike Cameron are probably going to cost a million or two more per year because of the Angels. When the Angels need to re-sign players, or go after other players, Hunter’s contract will be a future benchmark. If I were another GM, I’d be pissed the Angels inflated the market. When Ichiro was extended during the season this year, what’d he get? 5 years for $90 million. Sorry to say it, but Hunter is nowhere near as good as Ichiro, meaning the Angels had no business having Hunter’s contract match Ichiro’s.

Second of all, the Angels now have $130 million, and around $28 million annually allotted for two center fielders. That’s absurd. I can think of hundreds of ways to better spend $130 million. All those rumors about the Angels going after A-Rod? Even as the most expensive player in baseball at $27 million a year, pair him with any guy making the minimum and it’s still better value than Matthews plus Hunter.

Third, it’s like the Angels are just trying to appease the media. Media members say the Angels need a bat to protect Vlad in the order. Sure, sounds great. But one good bat isn’t enough to protect Vlad; they need another top 10 bat to properly protect Vlad. Hunter couldn’t even protect Morneau and Mauer. He batted behind Michael Cuddyer in Minnesota. Yet he’s supposed to protect Vlad? Give me a break. First line of the AP story, Angels now have protection for Vlad. So the media gets what it wants, but the Angels don’t get much better. Even with $90 million on Hunter, the Angels still don’t have as good an offense as Boston, New York, Cleveland, Detroit, or probably Seattle and Toronto.

The Angels covered one mistake (Matthews) with an even bigger mistake. I seriously wonder whether or not Juan Rivera wouldn’t match Hunter’s offensive production on his own. Matthews is probably as good in center as Hunter, or at least close to it, so what are you really gaining? Now there’s a huge log jam in the outfield that will probably be sorted out by trades. But it doesn’t change that the Angels overpaid Hunter, screwing up the market. People ask me why I care, arguing that it’s not my money. Well, I am a forward thinker. If the Angels have $90 million tied up to Torii, how will they afford to re-sign Miguel Cabrera should they acquire him, and how will they re-sign Franky Rodriguez when he comes up, John Lackey when he comes up, and same with Escobar?

How will they have the money to throw at better free agents when the ’08 class comes up? Johan, Sabathia, and Sheets will all be available. Wouldn’t the Angels be better served going after one of these pitchers instead? I certainly think so. Under no circumstance does this signing make sense, and what’s worse, the Angels inflated the market ruining things for themselves and other teams. Your comments and opinions are welcome.

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    LB, once again, spot on my friend

    im a tribe fan and never liked hunter after he picked up the ball and threw it at baez.

  • doug_plank

    Maybe the Angels will need Hunter in CF after the Mitchell report comes out.

  • barkeepnd

    People ask me why I care, arguing that it’s not my money.

    where do these franchises get the money to overpay these players? From fans like you and me. Angel’s fans will be paying that $90mil by purchasing tickets, beer, nachos etc., and will likely have to pay more for these things in the immediate future, and lets face it we already pay too much to see these guys play a game. I haven’t been to a MLB game for a couple years now and don’t see myself going back anytime soon. I’d sooner give my money to watch legion, college, and even independent baseball, all featuring guys playing for the love of the game rather then for the almighty dollar.

  • Mike

    How will the Angels cover up these mistakes? The lack of a salary cap helps.

  • Nate

    You guys are all fools… this is one of the greatest moves so far in Angels history. Not only do the angels now have 2 pitchers that are possible for a trade (ervin santana/joe saunders) they also have a number of top quality young prospects, as well as matthews, that they could throw in along with one of those pitchers for another big bat. This is just the first move for a trade of either miguel tejada or preferably miguel cabrera. And then you guys say that hunter is not worth 90 mill? Hes a six time gold glove winner and hitting 28-30 hr. He’s also been known to have great leadership qualities and adds a great addition to any ballclub. As for matthews he will be sent into LF while Andersen DH (Anderson’s fielding days are over). You guys need to get you’re facts together before you go around talking nonsense…

  • Nate

    Signing Hunter, which hinges on his passing a physical, gives the Angels more outfielders than they can possibly use. One of those, rookie Reggie Willits, could be included in a package of players to obtain Cabrera, who would sweeten the Angels’ power-anemic lineup.

    Although the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians have expressed an interest in Cabrera, the Angels are believed to have the edge on the four-time All-Star third baseman.

    Along with Willits, who would plug one need for the Marlins — a center fielder — the Angels also would likely give up second baseman Howie Kendrick and catcher Jeff Mathis. A source said the biggest sticking point to completing a deal at this point is whether the Angels also would throw in a fourth player: pitching prospect Nick Adenhart.

    The Angels also have a surplus of starting pitchers after obtaining Jon Garland from the White Sox for shortstop Orlando Cabrera earlier this week. That move gives the Angels six starters. A deal with the Angels also could net the Marlins third baseman Brandon Wood.

    The Lineup would look something like this:

    2B – Figgy
    LF – GMJ
    RF – Vladdy
    3B – Cabrera
    CF – Hunter
    DH – GA
    1B – Kotchman
    C – Napoli
    SS – Izturis

    Its beautiful…

  • Ron

    Hate to say it but Nate is right… how can anyone say this was a mistake?

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