Prior to leaving as a free agent after the 2007 season, Torii Hunter spent 15 years in the Minnesota Twins organization. He was the 20th overall pick in the 1st round of the 1993 MLB Amateur draft and made his Major League debut four years later. Hunter spent the 2008-2014 seasons with the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers, but he’s coming home for 2015.
Hunter will spend his 17th full season in the Majors back where it all started. The Twins and Hunter agreed to a one year deal Tuesday that will reportedly pay him $10.5MM. According to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles were also interested in signing Hunter.
The nine-time Gold Glove winner averaged nearly 20 home runs and 85 RBI in his six years out of a Twins’ uniform. Best known for the spectacular defensive play that he made look routine, Hunter was a full-time centerfielder until the 2010 season. He then became the regular right fielder for the Angels and Tigers.
Hunter called the Metrodome home when he was with the Twins and will have to get used to playing full-time in the Target Field outfield. While the Twins don’t currently look competitive for the postseason, Hunter will also serve as a mentor to some of the younger players on the roster. He’ll also be playing in Minnesota for the first time without Tom Kelly or Ron Gardenhire as the manager. Gardenhire was fired after this past season and was replaced by Paul Molitor, who was a member of the 1997-1998 Twins when Hunter made his debut.
Hunter is 8th all-time on the Twins home runs list with 192, nine behind Gary Gaetti. He’s also 5th all-time in strikeouts with 870, seven in back of Gaetti. Hunter, who will turn 39 in July, has played in the postseason eight times but has never made it to the World Series.