Rumor: Yankees are interested in Torii Hunter

Nick Swisher has barely been a free agent for two days, but the Yankees appear serious to move on. According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, the Yankees are interested in outfielder Torii Hunter.

Hunter is coming off a five-year, $90 million contract. He’s 37-years-old and is no longer the player he used to be. However, as the Yankees attempt to lower their payroll to $189 million he may be the perfect candidate. He will probably sign just a one or two year contract, he’s still a plus outfielder, is coming off a good offensive year where he hit .313/.365/.451, and is known to be a great clubhouse presence.

There are better free agent outfielders, there are younger ones too (he’s our Top 10 free agent outfielders list), but Hunter possibly provides the best bang for your buck. Especially if the Yankees can grab him on a one year deal, that will give them flexibility to stay under the $189 million payroll mark and gives them the ability to dump him if he is over the hill. Whereas some of the other options could be a bitter pill to swallow if the Yankees sign them to a long-term deal and it doesn’t work out.

Even on a two year deal though, he wouldn’t be so bad. That would provide the Yankees with the perfect stopgap before their talented minor league outfielders, Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, and Slade Heathcott, are ready for the Bronx.

Anytime the Yankees are signing a 37-year-old it does make me nervous, but Hunter has been surprisingly consistent as he ages though. His OPS+ was good for 132 this season and it was 124 over the past three. The three years before that? It was 120. So he’s not exactly dropping off.

Get in the game — is Torii Hunter a good fit for the Yankees or should they go after somebody else to replace Nick Swisher?

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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7 Responses to Rumor: Yankees are interested in Torii Hunter

  1. Keena says:

    Just what we need, another guy approaching 40.

  2. kay says:

    Some years ago, when Torii Hunter was available, I fervently hoped the Yankees would sign him. I saw him play several times when he was in his prime and I thought he was one of the best outfielders I'd ever seen. Sometimes his work in the outfield actually reminded me of Willie Mays. He has been very outspoken on a number of issues, but he's an intelligent man and should be able to get along all right with the team in the clubhouse. If the scouts and others think he can still field balls, even in his extreme dotage :), I hope the Yankees do sign him.

  3. Bryant says:

    Let's hope those prospects are ready sooner than later. Anyways, Hunter is a solid player at this stage and for a one or two year deal I would be fine with it. For that I would personally stay with Ichiro but that is a matter of preference. The best is to hope and make the right choice for the most productive player.

  4. Tanned Tom says:

    Still gonna miss Swisher, top 25 in OPS+ over the last 7 years. That's right, by that standard he's been one of the top 25 offensive players in all of baseball among players with 900 ABs in the last 7 years. But I'm okay with Hunter on a 1 year deal. How about Hunter in RF, Gardner in CF and Suzuki in LF? Trade Granderson for some younger players/prospects. Say good bye to Andruw Jones and Ibanez, make Dickerson the 4th OF and clean up this OF mess.

  5. Fred says:

    Torii Hunter is like a fine wine, he had one of his best years ever last year. His power isn't what it was, but I really think the Yankees need more on base guys. His .365 mark last year was second only to Cano on the Yankees. Even if you factor in a decline due to age, this isn't a guy that's going to start hitting .250 overnight. He's about the safest 37 year old batter you can sign IMO.

    I'd say resign Ichiro, sign Hunter, and platoon them. They might hold up better in their old age while splitting time. The one who isn't in the field could also possibly DH. Of course, this only works if rumors that Ichiro would accept a bench position are true.

    Basically, worst case scenario you get a 4th OF that tees off lefties (.340/.403/.465/.868 last year). Best case scenario you get a solid middle of the lineup guy. On a 1 year deal that's a steal, and on a 2 year deal that's most likely still a bargain.

    • Tanned Tom says:

      I agree with everything except the platoon idea. I like the idea of using both of them and dealing Granderson.

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