Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
MOVE OVER, TED NUGENT; THERE'S ANOTHER HUNTER IN MOTOWN
The Detroit Tigers were one of the better teams in baseball in 2012. The Detroit Tigers started Brennan Boesch in the outfield 115 times, Quintin Berry 70 times, Don Kelly 24 times, and Ryan Raburn 23 times. You can see how there was a clear path for the Tigers to get better, and per Ken Rosenthal, they've done just that, signing Torii Hunter to a two-year deal worth $26 million.
Hunter is already 37, but by both OPS+ and WAR, he had the best season of his career. It was an open question whether a team would give the outfielder a third guaranteed year just for the short-term boost. The Tigers didn't have to go that far, though, as they got their man without giving up a long-term deal.
Last season with the Angels, Hunter hit .313/.365/.451 in 534 at-bats, and while that seems scarily average-dependent, it's also worth noting that Angels Stadium is a pitchers' park; despite hitting fewer home runs than any season since 2005, Hunter was one of the Angels more productive hitters. If he can keep that up in his age-37 and age-38 seasons is the question.
The move doesn't have to end the Tigers' search for outfield help, with several big-name (or biggish-name) outfielders still available, there's still time for them to turn a 2012 weakness into a 2013 strength. Is there anyone who is against this deal? Probably someone who hasn't been to Boesch's FanGraphs page recently. Otherwise, it seems like a good fit for a team that needed an outfielder, but probably didn't want to mess around with long-term deals to guys like Nick Swisher or Angel Pagan.