Free agent-to-be Torii Hunter was quoted in the Daily News saying he likes New York.
"I love Yankee Stadium," Hunter said. "The atmosphere and energy there is great. And the fans know the game. When they get on you it can be pretty personal, but it's always about your baseball game.Obviously, Hunter is no Orlando Cabrera.
"When someone screams, 'You just can't hit that slider,' that's someone who knows what they're talking about. You don't hear that kind of informed (chatter) in Minnesota."
Hunter has been in the Twins organization since he was drafted by Minnesota in 1993. The Twins picked up his $12 million option for this season, but negotiations on a contract extension ended in spring training.
"I want to be with the Twins and that's been my main goal, but I'm human and the silence makes you wonder," Hunter said. . . . I think I'm a decent player. I can't believe there hasn't even been a conversation about it. That's tough to swallow" (source).
I wouldn't be opposed to signing Hunter. However, as bad as Johnny Damon is in center field, the position is not a priority to me this offseason.
The Yankees are facing the grim possibility of not having Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and (gasp!) Mariano Rivera. Because all three will command a lot of money ("a lot" is a huge understatement), there may not be enough money to throw around at center fielders as there normally might have been.
Also, I like Melky Cabrera. While I think he's overrated by many Yankee fans, he can be a solid center fielder with regular playing time. If Bobby Abreu keeps playing well, the Yankees may either pick up his $16 million option or sign him to a smaller deal. They would probably have to trade Cabrera at that point.
If they choose to let Abreu leave, they could move Cabrera to right field and maybe sign Hunter for center. That would then make Johnny Damon a first baseman.
That being said, hammering out deals for Posada and Rivera, and preparing for the looming opting-out situation with Rodriguez should remain Brian Cashman's top priority.
I also prefer other free agent Ichiro Suzuki to Hunter.