Sources: Hunter, Tigers reach deal
The first big free agent is off the board.
Right fielder Torii Hunter reached agreement Wednesday with the Detroit Tigers on a two-year, $26 million contract, according to major-league sources.
The deal, pending a physical, will give the American League champions a new No. 2 hitter, boosting an offense that will receive an additional lift next season if designated hitter Victor Martinez makes a successful recovery from knee surgery.
In that scenario, the Tigers’ first five hitters would be center fielder Austin Jackson, Hunter, third baseman Miguel Cabrera, first baseman Prince Fielder and Martinez.
Hunter, 37, batted .313 with an .817 OPS for the Los Angeles Angels last season, contributing 16 homers and 92 RBI. He was particularly effective in the No. 2 spot, batting .343 with an .854 OPS in 381 plate appearances.
The Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox were among the other teams interested in Hunter.
Detroit offered Hunter not only a championship-caliber team, but also geographic appeal — Hunter’s son, Torii Jr., is a high-school senior and has committed to play football at Notre Dame. Detroit is approximately a 3 1/2-hour drive from South Bend, Ind.
The Tigers will not lose a draft pick for signing Hunter. The Angels declined him to make him a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer, enabling Hunter to be an unrestricted free agent.