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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Torii and Turkey

Hi Twins fans,

I'm the Minnesota Twins M.V.B. (Most Valuable Blogger). I'm here to provide the most informative and entertaining blog on the web about all things Minnesota Twins. Come here for the latest Twins news, rumors, opinions, trivia, videos, pictures, debates, and more.

I figured there wasn't a better day to start off the 2008 season on than Thanksgiving. A day where we can give thanks to the Minnesota Twins. But not only can I think of a cheesy, pathetic way to incorporate the current season of harvest and giving of thanks between the pilgrims and the natives, but I have something newsworthy... INCREDIBLY newsworthy!

That's right Twins fans, no more than 15 minutes ago MLB.com's Harold Reynolds reported that "former" Minnesota Twins centerfielder and fan favorite, Torii Hunter, signed a 5-year deal with the "Los Angeles" Angels "of Anaheim" (aka the Anaheim/California Angels) worth an estimated $90 million dollars. That's something to be thankful for! Terms of the contract had not been released and as always was of course pending a physical. Do they ever think these professional athletes are going to show up and surprisingly can't run anymore? I guess it's protecting your $90 million dollar investment.

Anyway, the deal happened late Wednesday night early Thanksgiving morning. It comes as quite a shocker as Torii just announced yesterday he was going to take the weekend to mull over his options and make a decision. Even more surprising was that sources said his options were coming from 5 teams: Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, LA Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, and the Washington Senators. The Twins were rumored to be steadfast with their 3-year offer of $45 million. So the news of the Angels winning the Hunter lottery comes out of leftfield, not center, as their name had never been mentioned.

Hunter now joins a crowded outfield lead by stud Vlad Guerrero, Garret Anderson, last year's 5-year mega-deal signee Gary Matthew's Jr., Juan Rivera, and Reggie Willits. Rumors have it that the Hunter move could be a precursor to moving an extra outfielder on to another team. This free agent sign coupled with the recent trade of Angels shortstop Orlando Cabrera to the White Sox for pitcher Jon Garland could be two moves setting up a blockbuster deal for Marlins All-Star 24-year old thirdbaseman Miguel Cabrera. With one trade and one giant free agent deal under his belt, it has already been a big offseason for 1st-year Angels GM Tony Reagins.

What does this mean for the Twins...

Well, certainly a great player, great teammate, and most importantly a great man is leaving the Twins organization and the city of Minneapolis. It is safe to say that Torii Hunter and all that he has brought to the Minnesota Twins in his career cannot be replaced. Did I want to see Torii in a Twins uniform next year? Certainly, but only at the right cost. I'm not sure if I wanted the small market Twins to pay Hunter $18 million a season 5 years from now when he is 37 years old and still crashing into walls and swinging at any pitch he sees. But I did want Torii to run out to CF in 2010 when the new stadium opens.

In an ideal world, we could have signed Torii to a generous 3-year deal. He would play three great years for us, open the new ballpark as the face of the franchise, and allow 3 more years to develop a suitable replacement within the organization. BUT baseball is a business and Torii Hunter did what was best for Torii Hunter. A hometown discount could not have been expected and the time has come for a Twins great to move on.

It's a sad day in Twins Territory, but this is the first piece of big news in what will be a big offseason for the Twins. This deal is the first step in the process of the 2008 Twins roster taking shape. Do the Twins look to sign a free agent? (Andruw Jones, Aaron Rowand, Mike Cameron...not likely) Do they trade for a player like Coco Crisp...possibly? Or... GASP... frighteningly likely, do they fill this now huge hole with a player acquired in a trade of Johan Santana?

With the Baseball Winter Meetings starting at the beginning of December we may soon know. So continue to check this blog to see the latest news. Until then, leave a comment and let me know how you feel about Hunter signing with the Angels and life without Torii. Also, what should the Twins do next to fill their hole in CF?

This is the Twins M.V.B. going down 1,2,3 in the 9th.


Scott D. Meyer said...

Time to part with Torii. A great player, but not irreplaceable. He played his best seasons with the Twins and the Marlins, ehem, Angels will undoubtedly benefit from his presence, but they´ll be paying for it. Let´s make sure we sign the young guys who are still improving now with the money we saved.

Can´t wait for the December meetings.

Dad said...

Great report and update on the Twins, John. Sad to see Torii go but we knew it was coming, even back in the season. We were just in denial. Torii is replaceble, Santanna is not, hope we can keep him. Oh, good luck with the Flex 40 ticket plan. We will have to coordinate some of our games.

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