Color me dumbfounded. For one thing, the Angels had not really been mentioned as a serious suitor for Hunter. Their outfield was already crowded with Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Matthews Jr., Garrett Anderson, Reggie Willits and Juan Rivera, and now they seem to have compounded that problem. (Someone's got to be available... Willits is an intriguing potential trade piece, as is Rivera.)
Furthermore, it's somewhat shocking that Hunter signed a deal so quickly. In fact, here's what he told the Star Tribune earlier this week with regards to signing a contract:
"I promise you, it won't be this week," he said. "I don't want to think about that while I'm eating turkey. I want to spend the whole weekend relaxing with my family."Of course, this just confirms something most of us already knew -- Hunter isn't always totally forthright and honest.
The final reason that the deal is surprising is the sheer amount of money involved. Most projections had Hunter signing a deal somewhere in the range of five years/$75 million; for the Angels to commit nearly $100 million to a 32-year-old center fielder seems questionable a best. But hey, it's their problem now.
The writing has been on the wall for some time that Hunter was on his way out the door, and I'm glad he signed elsewhere so quickly so Bill Smith can put his full emphasis on finding a replacement.
I've always liked watching Torii play and I'm happy to see him haul in such a huge contract. I look forward to watching him on March 31, 2008, when the Angels coincidentally open their schedule at the Metrodome against the Twins.