According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, the Yankees are interested in signing Torii Hunter. The outfielder just finished a five-year contract with the Anaheim Angels, and will test the free agent market.
Hunter has been one of the more consistent outfielders of the last several years. This past season, he hit .313, the highest batting average of his career, with 16 home runs and 92 runs batted in. From 2006-2011, he hit at least 20 homers in every season.
In his prime, Hunter was known for being the best defensive outfielder in the game. He won nine straight gold gloves from 2001-2009.
While he’s still a productive player, Hunter has been in the league for a long time. At 37 years old, he is no longer a great defender, and has lost some speed on the base paths.
If the Yankees decide to make a run at Hunter, it won’t be a long-term solution. A one or two year deal might be most likely for Hunter.
Signing an outfielder like Hunter would probably spell the end of in Nick Swisher’s time in New York. Swisher is a free agent, and has been the Yankees starting right fielder for four years. With Curtis Granderson in center, Hunter would take Swisher’s spot in right.
Even if Hunter doesn’t come to New York, there’s a good chance Swisher has played his last game in pinstripes. He was very productive in his four seasons with the Yankees, averaging over 26 home runs and 87 RBI per season, but seemed to wear out his welcome by the end of this past year.
Once a fan favorite, Swisher’s relationship with the fans soured in October, when the outfielder voiced his displeasure with some hecklers. Swisher started to hear loud boos when he had another poor postseason in 2012. He was one of the biggest reasons that the Yankees were swept by the Tigers in the ALCS. He hit just .162 in his Yankee playoff career.
Besides Swisher, the Yankees have a few more outfielders that they have to make a decision on. Brett Gardner is arbitration-eligible and Ichiro Suzuki is a free agent.
Several teams are expected to bid for Hunter’s services. He is allowed to officially talk to teams, other than the Angels, on Saturday.