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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Angels Sign Torii Hunter For $90M/5 Years

I went to bed (central time) without checking the news, and here's what I get: the Angels have signed Torii Hunter for $90M/5 years? (Also at MLB.com.) Tony Reagins should have the keys to the franchise taken away from him for that. Hunter has been a better hitter in his days than Gary Matthews, Jr. has been, but I absolutely do not understand this deal. It does help to shore up left field, though the value of this contract will depend directly upon playing time assigned by Mike Scioscia. Hunter has been a little better than league average in center according to Rate2, throwing out his injury year of 2005 (105 in 2006 and 100 in 2007), while Gary Matthews, Jr. had the best defensive season of his career by that metric (109 Rate2). It also gives the Angels some options if Matthews, Jr. struggles as a full-time player (which he did in the second half), though that brings into question his over-rich contract in the first place.

Despite his type A ranking by Elias, Hunter's value to the team is rather dubious thanks to his age, multiplied by having a career year in a contract year. PECOTA projected him as a 45 VORP player, and he came in a bit below that at 39.2. Now, four wins is nothing to sneeze at, but he marks the kind of player the Angels really shouldn't be chasing; they need a Hall of Fame caliber bat, and Hunter simply isn't that. As a fix for the outfield, it reaches meh levels, with the usual caveats that Hunter's comps were either out of baseball or ineffective by the time this deal will be over, when Hunter is 36.

Update: Jon implies his gratitude to the Angels for executing a plan that looks like it might have been endorsed by the Bad Idea Bears, swiping Hunter away from the Dodgers. The title of his post says it all: "Thanksgiiviing".

Update 2: I wonder if the Angels FO was reading this as inspiration...

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all good arguments Rob, but the bottom line is the Angels today just got better.

yes, they still have needs, but i'd rather enter 2008 with Torii Hunter than without him.
In addition, there is no way they don't make a big trade for a 3b or SS now. Presumably, the Angels will have one extra Miguel on the team within a couple of weeks.
I don't deny that the Angels are getting better for 2008, but you'll have to work hard at convincing me that this makes them better in 2009. It's creeping Garret Anderson-itis.
I agree completely with Rob and I can't believe some Angels fans are actually pleased with the move.

Maicer Izturis had the better 2nd half of last year when Hunter had his career year. And we are going to be paying him 18 million a year?

They are going to be paying GMJ and Hunter an average of 28 million a year and they are essentially the same player. Horrible horrible horrible signing and Rob is right Reagins should have the keys taken away.
Are we becoming the Yankees of the West Coast? It seems that every year Artie needs to make a big splash by signing the most talked about free agent.

As far as trading for Cabrera, I really wish we keep our prospects/young players. Miggy is 24 and already on the road to eating himself out of the majors.
Happy Thanksgiving Rob! I don't buy the Matthews as a 4th outfielder. the truth is that Vlad is a big liability in right field now, and needs to be a permanent (or at least primary) DH. GA isn't a great outfielder, but he's not as horrible as most people make him out to be and with GM & TH the outfield will be excellent. Rivera will be there as the back-up to all outfield spots and DH and ready to step in with GA gets hurt. Willits will be traded. If they hadn't traded Cabrera, I'd be psyched with the line-up as it is today.
Pretty underwhelmed with the deal, if I'm honest. If money's no object, then fine - but for $18m a year, I'd like a bit more than Hunter gives us?

Unspectacular OBP, and MAYBE 30 homers a season.

And at a position where we've got a lot of expensive players.

We need to be pulling the trigger on deals that will move us from "bumped in the first round of the playoffs" to "world series champs", not ones that won't make the slightest difference next October.
I'm late to this party but as a Dodger fan, I am very, very, very, relieved by this signing. As the Angels are my second favorite team, I am equally concerned.

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