The Rays are one of a handful of teams in contact with with outfielder Torii Hunter‘s agent, according to the Los Angeles Times. Hunter, 37, is coming off another successful season for the Angels in which he hit .313/.365/.451 in 584 plate appearances.
A highlight-reel-producing center fielder during his prime, Hunter has transformed himself into an offensive-minded corner outfielder. Despite the aggressive play on defense and advanced age, durability has been no problem for Hunter, who has averaged close to 150 game in each of the past three seasons.
Hunter’s .313 average in 2012 marked a career-best. But the added hits came at the cost of plate discipline. He swung at more pitches outside of the strike zone, leading to a career-high rate of strikeouts and a five-year low in walk rate.
Unsurprisingly, Hunter’s batting average on balls in play was also a career-high. It would appear unsustainable, though Hunter did introduce a new foil to his offensive game last season: bunt hits. He recorded seven hits on bunts last season, including two against the Rays.
Hunter fits the Rays just as he fits numerous other teams. Because of this, the market for Hunter should help him net the multi-year deal he desires. Therefore, Hunter landing with the Rays seems like a long shot. However, if there is a shift in market demand, as well as a willingness for a shorter commitment, then perhaps a partnership can be forged.