How’s that for playing possum? The LA Times’ Mike DiGiovanna reports the Angels have signed free agent CF Torri Hunter to a 5 year, $80 pact.
Numerous teams, including the Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals, were in hot pursuit of the former Minnesota Twins star, and the Angels seemed set in center field with Gary Matthews Jr., who is entering the second year of a five-year, $50-million contract.
The Angels, who have been searching for a power bat to protect Vladimir Guerrero in the lineup, were in trade talks with the Florida Marlins for Miguel Cabrera, but it was not known Wednesday night whether they would still pursue the power-hitting third baseman.
Hunter, who has won seven consecutive Gold Glove awards, is expected to play center for the Angels, and Matthews will most likely move to left field, with left fielder Garret Anderson probably pushed to the designated hitter spot.
Unless Arte Moreno can find legit means to void Matthews’ contract, I suspect DiGiovanna is correct about the shift to left. It remains to be seen, however, what Hunter’s quick departure from the open market will mean for Aaron Rowland and Andruw Jones, with the latter’s agent insisting his client won’t be signing a one-year deal.
Having traded Johnny Estrada to the Mets on Tuesday, Milwaukee announced on Wednesday the signing of free agent C Jason Kendall. Having lent stability to the Cubs solely on the basis of not being Michael Barrett, Kendall will now serve a similar function for the Brewers (ie. not being Estrada).