The seemingly inevitable signing of Torii Hunter with the Detroit Tigers has been completed. Hunter has agreed to a two-year deal with the Tigers, and will make $26 million. Earlier today, Garrett explored Hunter's popularity on the free agent market in comparison to Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, and Nick Swisher.
With the Angels last season, Hunter amassed 5.3 fWAR, the highest total of his career. The 37-year old hit 16 homers (his lowest in a season since 14 in an injury-shortened 2005) and had an .816 OPS while providing elite defense in right field, a hallmark of his career as a center fielder before slowing in recent years.
Hunter will start in one of the corner outfield spots for the Tigers alongside Austin Jackson in center, with either Quintin Berry or Avisail Garcia likely manning the other spot. Last season, Brennan Boesch got a lion's share of the playing time in right, posting a .578 OPS for the team before being relegated to the bench later in the season. Many are calling Hunter a de facto replacement for Delmon Young, who was Detroit's primary DH last season. It's important to realize that with Victor Martinez returning from a torn ACL, he'll essentially be Young's replacement while Hunter replaces Boesch. That works out even better for the Tigers at the end of the day.
But $26 million for Hunter over two seasons is a lot of money. Hunter will earn his money if he's worth five wins over the life of the contract, but as a hitter in his late 30s, there's definitely some potential for him to completely fall off a cliff, especially after a career year in 2012. At any rate, Hunter is an upgrade for the Tigers, but he has potential to be a massive improvement in comparison to last season.