After a series of highly questionable moves (Cabrera for Garland) and a couple of frustrating off-seasons of inconsequential moves or non-moves the Angels braintrust has finally done something right.
In addition to immediately providing our offense with a significant upgrade the signing of Torii Hunter for 5 years at $90 million does a few other important things:
1)It allows Vlad to move into a primarily DH role, which should both extend his career and allow him to at least maintain his current level of offensive production.
2)It significantly improves our defense. I would disagree with Rev. in talking about Hunter as certainly a "good" centerfielder. He deserves to be talked about as a "great" centerfielder because he is. HE IS A SEVEN TIME GOLD GLOVE WINNER and has a career .991 Fielding Percentage. I'm not familiar with what the stat crunchers and sabermatricians say about him, but I know my eyes and what I see. And with Hunter what I see is the BEST defensive centerfielder in all of baseball. Perhaps you could convince me that A.Jones is better, but no one else. Torii is simply spectacular!
3)Hunter is a good character guy. Everything I've seen and heard leads me to believe that he will fit nicely in our clubhouse. He doesn't appear to be volatile or controversial. He is a pro who goes out and does his job with little or no fanfare. He seems to be primarily concerned about winning and doesn't seem to have a runaway ego. There don't seem to be the motivation/work ethic issues present with someone like Miguel Cabrera.
4)Hunter is a career .339 hitter in 4 League Division Series -- since the Angels figure to be a playoff team this is very important. In his one ALCS Hunter hit .300. In short, he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would fold in the clutch.
5)By acquiring Hunter as a Free Agent we keep our key young talent (some of which admittedly might still be going in a forthcoming deal). At this point I would venture to say that Cabrera is out of the picture and we can feel secure that we WILL KEEP Howie Kendrick, which I think most of us here wanted to do.
In getting Hunter we acquired a guy who in essentially 10 seasons (in his first year he played in only 1 game) has a .324 OBP, a .469 SLG percentage a .271 BA and an impressive 192 HR and 711 RBI. More importantly his power numbers are going up as he has averaged 29.5 HR over the last two seasons.
He also more or less stays healthy. In short, this is a great sigining by the Angels. I'm very happy about this and it confirms my prior statement that Miguel Cabrera is not the only game in town. We can and DID improve our offense and our team with someone other than Cabrera.