Who's interested in Hunter, and who else is out there

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 3, 2007 - 3:36 PM
NLCS CARDINALS METS BASEBALL

New York Mets' Carlos Beltran hits a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of baseball's National League Championship Series Thursday, Oct. 12, 2006 at Shea Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Photo: Kathy Willens, AP

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The marketplace for Torii Hunter

The Star Tribune e-mailed beat writers across the country for a better glimpse of who's interested in Torii Hunter. The results of the survey:

CONFIRMED INTEREST

Twins: Haven't improved their three-year, $45 million offer.

Astros: Willing to move Hunter Pence to right field.

Rangers: Hunter, who lives in the Dallas area, seems to be the centerpiece of offseason plan.

White Sox: GM Kenny Williams reportedly plans to meet with Hunter this week.

STRONG POSSIBILITIES

Giants: Without Barry Bonds, they need outfielders and middle-order hitters.

Dodgers: Might move Juan Pierre to left field, if they land Hunter or Andruw Jones.

KEEP AN EYE ON

Yankees: They have Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon, but they need help replacing Alex Rodriguez in the lineup.

Nationals: There were indications last week that they contacted Hunter's agent.

Cardinals: They have Jim Edmonds, but he's gimpy and all their outfielders bat lefthanded.

Braves: They parted ways with Jones, and they were Hunter's favorite team growing up.

Padres: Hunter might be out of their price range, even if they lose Mike Cameron.

Historical perspective

A look at the biggest contracts given to center fielders in recent years.

CARLOS BELTRAN, METS

Contract: Seven years, $119 million

When: January 2005

Age at the time: 27

Previous season: Hit .267 with 38 home runs and 104 RBI in 2004.

Since he signed: Has 90 home runs in three seasons with the Mets, but he's been streaky.

JOHNNY DAMON, YANKEES

Contract: Four years, $52 million

When: December 2005

Age at the time: 32

Previous season: Hit .316 with 10 home runs and 75 RBI with the Red Sox in 2005.

Since he signed: Hit .270 this year and Yankees moved him to left field.

GARY MATTHEWS JR., ANGELS

Contract: Five years, $50 million

When: November 2006

Age at the time: 32

Previous season: Hit .313 with 19 homers and 79 RBI for Texas in 2006.

Since he signed: Hit .252 with 18 homers and 72 RBI and missed the playoffs because of a knee injury.

JUAN PIERRE, DODGERS

Contract: Five years, $44 million

When: November 2006

Age at the time: 29

Previous season: Hit .292 with 58 stolen bases for the Cubs in 2006.

Since he signed: Hit .293 with 64 stolen bases this season.

VERNON WELLS, BLUE JAYS

Contract: Seven years, $126 million

When: December 2006

Age at the time: 28

Previous season: Batted .303 with 32 homers and 106 RBI for Toronto.

Since he signed: Struggled this year, batting .245 with 16 homers and 80 RBI.

ICHIRO SUZUKI, MARINERS

Contract: Five years, $90 million

When: July 2007

Age at the time: 33

Previous season: Hit .322 with 45 stolen bases in 2006.

Since he signed: Finished the 2007 season batting .351 with 37 stolen bases.

Who's out there

The top five free-agent center fielders on this offseason's market.

TORII HUNTER, TWINS

2008 Opening Day age: 32

2007: .287, 28 HR, 107 RBI

ANDRUW JONES, BRAVES

2008 Opening Day age: 30

2007: .222, 26 HR, 94 RBI

AARON ROWAND, PHILLIES

2008 Opening Day age: 30

2007: .309, 27 HR, 89 RBI

MIKE CAMERON, PADRES

2008 Opening Day age: 35

2007: .242, 21 HR, 78 RBI

Note: Cameron received 25-game suspension to start 2008 last week for testing positive for a banned stimulant.

COREY PATTERSON, ORIOLES

2008 Opening Day age: 28

2007: .269, 8 HR, 45 RBI

jchristensen@startribune.com

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