Pine Bluff native Torii Hunter, a 16-year Major League Baseball veteran who spent the past five with the Los Angeles Angels, has agreed to a two-year, $26 million deal with the Detroit Tigers pending a physical, it was reported on the team’s website.
The acquisition is considered the first major free-agent signing of this offseason. Hunter fulfilled a five-year contract with the Angels.
Sources who confirmed the deal were cited in the article. MLB.com added the deal came together Wednesday morning, a day after Hunter visited Detroit.
The American League-champion Tigers are getting a 37-year old outfielder who had the finest batting season of his career in 2012 with the Angels. Hunter hit .313 — well ahead of his .277 career average — with 16 home runs and 92 RBI. He is three homers shy of 300 for his career.
Known as one of the standout defenders in the game, Hunter has a career .992 fielding percentage. He committed just four errors this past season.
MLB.com reported Hunter will be slotted second in the batting order, in between Austin Jackson and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera. After playing alongside AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout, Hunter likely will get to help a pair of young prospects in Avisail Garcia and Nick Castellanos develop in the outfield.
Garcia is the minor league player of the year for the Tigers system. He hit .319 in 23 regular-season games and batted in four runs in the postseason. Castellanos was the MVP of the All-Star Futures Game.
Hunter, a 1993 graduate of Pine Bluff High School, spent his first 11 seasons in the majors with the Minnesota Twins.