Centerfielder free agent Torii Hunter has come to a 5-year, $90 million agreement with the Los Angeles Angels, pending a physical.
Hunter is seen as a key piece for the Angels and will protect Vladimir Guerrero in the line-up.
(See The Biz of Baseball Free Agent Tracker)
As reported by The AP:
"We are very excited to have Torii joining our organization," Angels general manager Tony Reagins said in a statement. "Not only is he an outstanding ballplayer but he's also an outstanding human being. He'll impact our ballclub and community in a very positive way."
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals were among those interested in Hunter. The newspaper reports that Reagins, the Angels' rookie general manager, called Hunter's agent Larry Reynolds on Tuesday and a deal for Hunter came together quickly.
"You're a little surprised, huh?" Reynolds told the newspaper Wednesday night. "It all happened within the last 24 hours."
A statement released by Hunter’s former team, the Minnesota Twins reads:
“Torii Hunter has been a tremendous representative of the Twins organization for the past 15 seasons and he was a critical player in the renaissance of the Twins in the past decade,” said Twins General Manager Bill Smith. “Torii has been a leader on the field and in the community, a two-time All-Star and a seven-time Gold Glove winner. More importantly, he is a consummate professional and a great person. We congratulate the entire Hunter family and wish them continued success in the Angels organization.”
The move places Gary Matthews, Jr. position in the line-up as a question mark. Matthews was brought in last year as part of a $50 million, five-year deal to play centerfield. Now, with Hunter in the fold, Matthews would appear to be moving to the DH.
Matthews is also involved in an investigation in which human growth hormone in was sent him in 2004 from a Florida-based online pharmacy dealing in the illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.
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