Torii Hunter made it clear that he wanted to stay in Detroit, at one point saying he’d retire if the Tigers didn’t want him back. He’s mellowed on that stance, opening himself up to other teams, which is good because today Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski all but ruled out a reunion.
Dombrowski told Jason Beck of MLB.com:
We probably won’t re-sign Torii. I called Torii and his representative today and told them that.
Hunter’s defense has slipped to the point that he’s well below average in right field, but he still hit well this season at age 38 and reportedly has plenty of other teams interested.
Last offseason A.J. Burnett left the Pirates for the Phillies, but after a rough season in Philadelphia he’s going back to Pittsburgh.
Burnett has signed a one-year deal with the Pirates worth $8.5 million, which is significantly less than the $12.75 million player option he declined to leave the Phillies.
Burnett had a fantastic two-season run for the Pirates in 2012/2013, starting 61 games with a 3.41 ERA and 389 strikeouts in 393 innings, but he went 8-18 with a 4.59 ERA in 34 starts for the Phillies.
At age 38 he’s certainly no sure thing to bounce back, but for $8.5 million and a one-year commitment a reunion with Burnett makes a lot of sense for a Pirates rotation that may lose free agents Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez.
Making official what was reported earlier this week the Rangers announced new three-year contract extensions for general manager Jon Daniels and assistant general manager Thad Levine.
The timing may seem odd following a terrible, injury wrecked season in which Texas went 67-95, but the Rangers have been one of the most successful teams in baseball since Daniels took over as GM in 2005 and Levine has been his right-hand man that whole time.
Daniels and Levine were both under contract through 2015. Ron Washington stepped down as manager late in the season and interim manager Tim Bogar was not asked back, as the Rangers chose Pirates coach Jeff Banister as their new skipper.
Setbacks in his recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery meant Joel Hanrahan never pitched for the Tigers after signing a $1 million deal in May, but now they’ve re-signed him for 2015.
Bob Nightingale of USA Today reports that Hanrahan gets $1 million upfront again, plus another $2.5 million in potential incentives.
Detroit’s bullpen can certainly use plenty of help and Hanrahan was one of the best, hardest-throwing relievers in baseball before injuries derailed him, posting a 2.73 ERA with 228 strikeouts in 198 innings from 2010-2012. However, he threw just seven ineffective innings in 2013 and didn’t pitch in the majors at all this year.
Joe Nathan’s grip on the closer job is anything but secure and now the Tigers have former All-Star closers Hanrahan and Joakim Soria as other ninth-inning options.
For three straight offseasons the Pirates have acquired a catcher and for three straight offseasons catching prospect Tony Sanchez has immediately gone on Twitter to show what a good attitude he has about the whole thing.
Pirates blog Forbes to Federal put together the full collection:
Sanchez is 26 years old and has played a grand total of 46 games in the majors five seasons after being drafted No. 4 overall by the Pirates.