Sources: Twins agree to sign Hunter to one-year deal
MINNEAPOLIS — Torii Hunter is coming home.
The 39-year-old outfielder has agreed to a one-year, $10.5-million contract with the Twins, two Major League sources confirmed Tuesday night. The Twins, however, haven’t confirmed and haven’t made an official announcement, as the deal is still pending a physical.
Hunter played the first 11 years of his career with the Twins, who drafted him in the first round in the 1993 First-Year Player Draft. He won seven Gold Glove Awards and made two All-Star appearances in his first stint with the club. He hit .271/.324/.469 with 192 homers, 259 doubles and 126 stolen bases in 1,234 career games with the Twins.
Hunter left Minnesota in 2008 to sign with the Angels before playing the last two seasons with the Tigers in chase of his first World Series title. He’s five-time All-Star who won nine straight Gold Glove Awards from 2001-09 and won Silver Slugger Awards in ’09 and ‘13.
Hunter hit .286/.319/.446 with 17 home runs last season and is a .279/.334/.446 career hitter in 18 Major League seasons.
Hunter will start in right field for the Twins in 2015, as Oswaldo Arcia will move over from right field to left field. Hunter moved off center field to right field during the 2010 season while with the Angels.
Hunter will bring the Twins much-needed power from the right side after the departure of Josh Willingham, but will also serve as a clubhouse leader and mentor to the club’s younger players. Hunter is known as one of the best clubhouse presences in baseball and is very familiar with new manager Paul Molitor.
Hunter was a teammate of new Twins manager Paul Molitor in ’97 and ’98, although Hunter only played in a combined eight games those two years. But Molitor was also around Hunter while serving as Minnesota’s bench coach in 2000 and ’01. Hunter was also a teammate of new Twins bullpen coach Eddie Guardado from 1997-2003 and both represented the Twins as All-Stars in ’02.
The Twins had been in contact with Torii Hunter’s agent, Larry Reynolds, since early this offseason, but the question was whether Hunter wanted to play for a club that has lost at least 92 games in each of the last four seasons. But Hunter chose the Twins over the Rangers, as Minnesota outbid Texas for Hunter, according to a report from Foxsports.com.