I'd be honestly surprised if anyone isn't familiar with today's author of a guest column. For years he ran solo with TwinsGeek.com before going to TwinsTerritory.com, where I and quite a handful of other writers on this site first appeared. Like Luke Wilson to Vince Vaughn, he's my version of The Godfather.
His guest column is the second half of an entry you can find at his new site, here. I hope you've enjoyed your hiatus from my monologues, and I'll be back in a few days to break the current curse the Twins seem to be under.
Moving Hunter, Part II
This column started over at TwinGeek.com, where I started looking at possible trade destinations for Torii, even though the thought turned my stomach. I continue with the sixth through the eleventh highest payroll teams in the majors, and find one more very good fit.
6. St. Louis - Hunter seems like exactly the kind of guy St. Louis targets. However, they still have Jim Edmonds, who had another monster year in 2005 at age 35. They have an option on his contract next year, which they'll likely exercise if he stays productive. If not, St. Louis would be a possibility, but there's another roadblock. It's questionable if St. Louis really has any cheap young offensive talent that would interest the Twins.
7. San Francisco - They just signed Randy Winn to a $23.25 million deal through 2009. I know, I know, it's ridiculous to think that Randy Winn is going to block Torii Hunter from going someplace. But not nearly as ridiculous as signing Randy Winn to a $23.25 million deal through 2009.
8. Chicago Cubs -There are obstacles. For starters, they may not be competitive enough this year to be buyers in the trade market. They also traded for Juan Pierre this winter, but he isn't under contract past 2006. Finally, the Cubs don't really need a right-handed power bat that strikes out a lot, though Dusty might think they do.
Nevertheless, you can be sure that Chicago writers will be wishcasting because Hunter's good friend Jones is already there. The Cubs also have a nice chip to trade. Felix Pie is a 21-year-old center fielder who played in AA last year and is awfully reminiscent of a left-handed Torii Hunter, without quite so good a glove.
9. Seattle - Hunter would be nice a fit for the Mariners lineup, but they have a young cheap Jeremy Reed and there is no way they're competitive enough to warrant picking up his salary at the trade deadline.
10. Atlanta - In the words of the Holy Grail's French Huegenots "They are not too keen. You see, they already got one." Only his name is Andruw Jones, and he's signed through 2007.
11. LA Dodgers - This is why we go to eleven. Because most just stop at 10, and then where do you go from there? Eleven.
This team might be willing to trade for Torii Hunter RIGHT NOW. Their center fielder is Kenny Lofton, and if that's not bad enough, he's hurt. He's also only signed Lofton to a one-year deal, and you could make the case that they did that because they plan on being in the bidding for Hunter this offseason. They should be competitive in a watered down NL West, and they have plenty of prospects that the Twins might find attractive.
There is at least one more possibility, which is Torii's home state of Texas. The Rangers have Laynce Nix playing center field, and while they haven't given up on him, it's not clear why they haven't. They rank 22nd in payroll this year, but they can certainly afford Hunter, with the biggest obstacle being that they are unlikely to be battling for a playoff spot.
I still think the possibility of them trading Hunter is remote, though that $5.5 million they'll owe him after July is a little eye-opening. That alone will insure there will be plenty of rumors if the Twins aren't challenging for a playoff spot and a few even if they are. Welcome to the free agency you've been craving, Mr. Hunter.
If you came over form TwinsGeek, I hope you can stick around here a bit and catch up with some of the other posts on the right hand side of the screen. You likely know these guys from TwinsTerritory.com, back when software wasn't being gutted by ISPs. It might be nice for you to catch up with them.