The Texas Rangers are aggressively pursuing free agent Torii Hunter, as the veteran outfielder’s market heats up according to a report by Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish is also reporting that the Rangers are working on a deal with Hunter, and a contract could be finalized quickly.
Yesterday LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that Hunter hopes to sign with a team before next week’s Winter Meetings begin in San Diego.
The Mariners, Orioles and Twins are also interested in the 39-year-old.
Many have speculated that the Mariners can be crossed off the list given their recent signing of Nelson Cruz, but Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reported yesterday that the M’s prefer to use Cruz as a DH, and are still looking for a rightfielder.
Hunter’s defense has subsided, going from Gold Glove caliber in center field, to average in right field, but he continues to produce at the plate, and his veteran presence is something that is attractive to many clubs.
In 142 games last season, Hunter hit .286 with 17 HR, 83 RBIs, and an OPS (on-base + slugging) of .765.
Hunter lives in Prosper, Texas which is a few hours away from Arlington.
If Hunter signs with Texas, he would be replacing fellow free agent Alex Rios in the Rangers lineup and outfield.