|Angel in the Outfield|
Written by MajesticMarmol (Contact & Archive) on November 25, 2007
Former Minnesota Twins star Torii Hunter shocked the world of baseball and even the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by signing a five year, $90 million contract with the Angels. The Angels weren’t needing another outfielder, but they were happy to take the two-time all star and seven-time gold glover Torii Hunter from the free agent market.
So with another solid bat in a lineup that was starving for power hitting and runs batted in, the Angels are looking like a fierce team now. With Torii Hunter wearing a halo above his head, it looks as if his career has taken another jump start. He had some success with Minnesota, but with the Angels it looks even better.
The Angels will be happy to have Hunter in center field at Angels Stadium, as he brings seven consecutive gold glove awards onto display in front of Angel faithful. He is also a reliable bat in the lineup and can produce when needed. In fact, he hit three grand slams this season.
Alongside superstar slugger Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter and the Angels will be looking to build a solid quality offense that they lacked last season. Hunter will help out the cause; he had 107 runs batted in for the Twins this year. He is also good for clubhouse chemistry. So will the Angels benefit from having a new Angel in the outfield? With a stacked outfield lineup of Garrett Anderson, Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero it is likely so. Mike Scioscia also announced that Gary Matthews Jr. will be a designated hitter. So suddenly a desperate roster of struggling hitters has been upgraded and the Angels have received a heavenly player.
The stacked outfield may necessitate another move. With Anderson, Hunter, Matthews, and Guerrero all but assured lineup spots, that leaves power source Juan Rivera and speedster Reggie Willits on the bench. The Miami Herald has been reporting that Willits could be included in a deal for the Florida Marlins’ Miguel Cabrera, while many teams could have interest in Rivera.
Fantasy-wise, we should not expect much of a change for Hunter. The American League Central and American League West division’s are about the same in terms of ballparks affecting hitters. Hunter’s home stadium in Los Angeles may depress him home run totals slightly, but he should still be considered a solid .280/25/100 option going forward. That’s still worth picking up and using as your second or third outfielder in mixed leagues.