well, that answers that

in case you haven\’t read it yet, the twins have picked up torii hunter\’s $12MM option for 2006.

this pains me, and yet i think it was the right move.  i had wanted to compare torii\’s \’06 stats to the stats of this offseason\’s crop of free agent centerfielders (because, face it, we weren\’t going to hand the position over to lew or tyner.)  thankfully, people have already done that for me here.  (thanks, twinsgeek.)  despite torii\’s seeming loss of range in center, despite the complete evaporation of his patience at the plate in the second half, and despite that game two misplay that still haunts my dreams, i feel better paying him $12MM than paying someone else on that list less money.  well, maybe juan pierre, but the twins need another no-power speedster like they need a hole in the head.  and pierre\’s on-base percentage isn\’t that much greater than torii.

there\’s more at play here than what makes economic sense, as well.  with rare exceptions, the twins have almost never let \”the faces of the franchise (FoF)\” leave without a souring of the relationship. 

i\’ll grant this is very unscientific, but:

  • Kent Hrbek— FoF from 1982 to 1994; re-signed at hometown discount in 1989, retired after 1994 season 
  • Frank Viola— FoF in 1987; traded to NY Mets in 1989 only after his agent published a \”pay me or trade me\” open letter in both local newspapers
  • Kirby Puckett— FoF from 1987 to 1995; re-signed at a hometown discount in 1992, retired after 1995 season
  • Chuck Knoblauch— FoF from 1995 to 1997; traded to NY Yankees after falling out with the team and Tom Kelly
  • Paul Molitor— FoF from 1996 to 1998; retired after 1998 season
  • Matt Lawton— FoF from 1996 to 2001; traded to NY Mets during 2001 season.  This is the one variant in my theory– unless Law-dog had worn out his welcome behind the scenes.
  • Doug Mientkiewicz— FoF from 2001 to 2003; traded to Boston Red Sox after becoming an all-around asshat
  • Brad Radke— FoF from 1995 to 2006; re-signed in 2004, retired (probably) after 2006 season
  • Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau— time will tell

so, given torii\’s status as a mostly-gruntled star in this town, there was no way we weren\’t going to re-sign him.  if/when he gets cranky, however, he should fully expect to be shipped out of town, likely for players who will never pan out.








4 responses to “well, that answers that”

  1. anderswa Avatar

    no big surprise, but aaron gleeman does an excellent analysis on the move today:
    what he said that i wished i had: i’m glad it was just a one-year deal vs. a long-term extension.

  2. alex Avatar

    Here’s a take on the team overall:
    Those figures don’t include arbitration for Mauer, Morneau, and Cuddyer, though. Looks like there’ll still be a few bucks to spend, though, and it also looks as though last year’s needs are this year’s needs, namely: 3B, LF, and DH. I’m ok with Punto staying at 3B if we can get some mashers for the other two spots. I like how he mentioned Sheffield… I’d take him for a year or two.

  3. Andy Avatar

    Seriously though. Leaving Torii Hunter behind for one of those other options fills 2 gaping holes:
    leadoff spot

    I’d rather have a leadoff hitter and some money to spend on a pitcher or a real 3 hitter (Mauer is a 2 hitter – see the career of Wade Boggs for more on that) preferably one that plays left field.

  4. Andy Avatar

    Oh, and see the Twins last couple of bigger trades (I’ll give you hints, both sent players of the Polish persuasion to other teams) if you think the GMs are going to grab players that won’t pan out. The guys behind this team are pretty shrewd.

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