Torii Hunter is on the Yankees radar. (Image: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE)

Yankees Rumors: Torii Hunter on the Bomber's radar?

The New York Yankees will be linked to many free agents this season. Some rumors will make sense—others will be agent plantings being used to drive up their player’s value by using the Yankees’ name. Which is it in the case of the most recent rumor that the Yankees are interested in Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Torii Hunter?

Hunter is 37-years-old and just finished a five-year/$90 million contract. He will most likely not be offered a qualifying contract (one-year/$13.3 million) as he would probably take it which means the Yankees would not have to sacrifice a draft pick to sign Hunter. He is still a productive outfielder, but can no longer command that kind of money he was pulling in with the Angels. According to the New York Daily News, Hunter may be looking for a two-year deal which the Yankees may be amenable to with their crop of young outfielders being at least a couple seasons away from making a major impact with the big club.

With Nick Swisher likely set to make more money than he deserves elsewhere, the Yankees will have their sights on plenty of players who could fill the right field void. Being old is not an issue, something that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman stressed after the Bombers were bounced from the playoffs. Cashman is seeking the best players he can get regardless of age.

I just want the best. We’re going to gravitate to the best choices. I don’t care if it’s old, I care if it’s good. There’s some old guys that are good.

Hunter hit .313 with 16 homers and 92 RBI in 2012. He played every inning of his 140 games in right field for the Angels where he produced a UZR/150 of 13.0. He recorded a 5.3 fWAR in 2012, his highest total in that category for his entire career. Hunter has a career OBP of .335 and surpassed that by far this past season with a .365 mark. He would provide some pop from the right side which the Yankees could use.

If the Yankees chose to go in Hunter’s direction it would likely be at the expense of Ichiro Suzuki with Curtis Granderson‘s option picked up and the assumption that Brett Gardner is set to return to full-time duty in the outfield. That is unless Cashman and Yankees manager Joe Girardi envision a time share between the two players and the continuous revolving door of players at DH so they older players could get half days on occasion.

Qualifying contract offers due today

Today is day teams must make qualifying contract offers. The Yankees will surely tender offers to Rafael Soriano, who opted out on Wednesday and Swisher who is seeking one last multiyear deal. Hiroki Kuroda, who said yesterday that he would consider a one-year deal, is another player the Yankees could decide to tender a qualifying offer to, though the price tag may be slightly steep for Kuroda should he regress a bit from his stellar 2012 season.

Once the Yankees offer qualifying contracts to players, they have seven days to make their decision. If they decline and go elsewhere next season the Yankees will get a compensation draft pick between the first and second round of the 2013 draft.

Tags: New York Yankees

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