Several teams in Major League Baseball used the winter meetings to improve their teams. The Twins were no different, signing veteran outfielder Torii Hunter before the meetings to a one-year $10.5 million deal.
The Twins signed veteran right-handed pitcher Ervin Santana to a four-year deal for $57 million. Santana was 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA last year in the National League with the Atlanta Braves. He pitched 196 innings with 63 walks and 179 strikeouts.
Santana is 32 years old and has been around the block in MLB. He’s played for the Los Angeles Angels, Kansas City Royals, and Braves — and now the Twins. He has won 10 or more games in six of his 10 major-league seasons; his best season was 2010 when he won 17 games for the Angels.
Hunter, even at 38, gives Twins GM Terry Ryan the veteran corner outfielder he coveted. Hunter said he’s “glad to be back, and it was a tough decision for me and my family. I ran it by [wife] Katrina a thousand times. I bounced it off Joc Jones and others, and they said why not go back home. You know they can play.”
Hunter last year starred for Central Division Champion Detroit and hit .283 with 17 homeruns and 83 RBIs. He’s won multiple Gold Gloves, and what a difference he can make in that club house. His veteran leadership can help set the tone and lift some of these young guys up. He brings diversity also, which is important.
One reason Hunter returned to the Twins is maybe to work for the team after his career is over to leave a legacy. “You never know,” he said about that possibility. “That’s one reason I came back, a small percentage. I want to leave a legacy. I’ve done a lot of good things here, and every man should want to leave a legacy, to give back and help and be fruitful. It’s not selfish. If it takes 10, 20, 30, 50 years, I want to give back.”
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Game daygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at Fitz BeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.