Frustrated by unsuccessfully attempting to woo free agents Mark Teixeira and Carl Crawford to the Angels in past offseasons, Torii Hunter said yesterday that he’s done trying to recruit players to join him in California.
“I’m retired,” Hunter told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. “It hasn’t been working out. If somebody wants to call and talk to me about Anaheim, that’s fine. I’ll talk to them.”
Hunter is still owed $18 million next year in the final season of a five-year, $90 million deal, but as a 35-year-old hitting just .255 with 14 homers and a .733 OPS for his lowest mark since 2000 he’s unlikely to be with the Angels beyond 2012.
“Come play with me … for one season” probably wouldn’t have been much of a recruiting pitch anyway.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: