The new rules of free agency are a streamlined rollercoaster - once the World Series ends, teams have a few days to make a qualifying offer to their free agents. What is a Q.O.? A salary that would put the player in the top 122 players in the major leagues - this year it is $13.3 Million. Once a Q.O. is made, the free agent can still look at other teams but those teams will have to surrender a draft pick if and when they sign him.
In not making Hunter a qualifying offer the Angels are almost certainly cutting ties with him. He will inevitably get a two-year, $28 million deal somewhere and it will not be Anaheim. By not making a Q.O., the Angels have made it easier for a team to justify signing Hunter as they do not lose a first round draft pick in the process. The club has also made it easier on themselves to focus on signing Zack Greinke.
The Angels starting outfield for 2013 is still enviable - Meteor Mike Trout in LF, Gorjous Peter Bourjos in CF and Mad Dog Mark Trumbo with Old Man Take A Look At Your Life Vernon Wells brinks-trucking it on the bench. If the team were to acquire a Left-Handed power bat for the bench, the entire offense might be set for 2013 barring a wild trade.