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Torii Hunter is first big name off board

By November 15, 2012

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Torii Hunter didn't waste time waiting for an offer on the free agent market. He's heading back to the AL Central and filling a big hole in the lineup of the Detroit Tigers, getting a two-year, $26 million contract.

He batted in front of Mike Trout last season with the Angels, and now he'll probably hit in front of Miguel Cabrera with the Tigers. One of them will win AL MVP on Thursday.

Hunter, who manned center field for nine years for the Minnesota Twins from 1999-2007, wasn't the best outfielder on the free-agent market -- he's 37 -- but he should be a decent fit in an already potent lineup, giving Detroit another powerful bat from the right side and giving the defending AL champion Tigers a big upgrade over Brennan Boesch or Quintin Berry in right field.

Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan, Nick Swisher and Shane Victorino will have a bigger number than $26 million guaranteed to them in this free agent market, but Hunter did well to get $13 million, even if that does constitute a $5.5 million pay cut. (He made $18.5 million from the Angels last season.)

The Angels still have some strength in the outfield with Rookie of the Year Trout, Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo. (They'll pay Vernon Wells $21 million to be a fourth outfielder, however. Just getting rid of Wells was a great deal for the Blue Jays before the 2011 season.)

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