Originally written November 14, 2012 on Fox Sports Detroit:
The Detroit Tigers have shown that when they want a player, that player soon becomes a Tiger. Former Los Angeles Angels (and Minnesota Twins) outfielder Torii Hunter is now a Tiger. FOX Sports' Jon Morosi reported Tuesday that Hunter was in town meeting with the Tigers and it didn't take long for the two parties to come to an agreement, which was first reported by MLB Network Wednesday afternoon. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported it was a two-year contract, pending a physical. USA Today was reporting the terms were two years, 26 million. Although Hunter is 37 years old, he had one of the better statistical years of his career this past season with the Angels, batting .313 with 16 home runs and 92 RBIs. Hunter played right field for the Angels and would most likely play there for the Tigers. It would be a significant upgrade from the left field production and defense the Tigers got last year from a combination of Brennan Boesch, Andy Dirks, Ryan Raburn and Avisail Garcia. Hunter is a four-time All-Star, nine-time Gold Glove winner and a Silver Slugger winner in 2009. The Tigers are high on Garcia, who was with them in September and October, but it's believed that he needs some more seasoning before he can be a full-time player. "I would say the way I describe Garcia is that he's improved by leaps and bounds," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said during his season-ending press conference. "We think he is going to be a star. Has star potential. He's a five-tool player. I'm not sure that he's ready as a corner outfielder to give us the contributions that we need on the overall basis at this time, but I'm not sure that he's not." Dombrowski also said during his season-ending press conference, "One of the areas we need to address are corner outfielders." When asked about Dirks, Dombrowski said the same thing manager Jim Leyland said. "Dirks is a good player," Dombrowski said. "Is he an every-day player at this point? I don't know. He might be. I know he's a real good player. Can he combine with somebody? So I think we'll just kind of look at that." As for Boesch, Dombrowski said the team planned to tender him a contract. But that does not guarantee a major league job. "He hasn't made the strides we'd like him to make," Dombrowski said. "However, sometimes power hitters take longer to come about, too. But I cannot look and tell you he's a given, that one of those corner outfield spots are his at this time. That's something he'd have to earn, by all means." For owner Mike Ilitch, who has made no secret of wanting to win a World Series now, signing an established veteran like Hunter makes perfect sense.
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