So far, the talk of the free agency has surrounded around the moves the Toronto Blue Jays have made. The Yankees’ division cohorts made the big trade with the Miami Marlins for shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle among others. Plus, they took a former Yankee off the free agent market in outfielder Melky Cabrera. These moves will make their impact in due time, but another team made a move that made their edge over the New York Yankees a little bit wider.
I am talking about the Detroit Tigers signing former Angels’ outfielder Torii Hunter to a two-year, $26 million deal. That is the exact deal that the Cardinals gave Carlos Beltran during last offseason. I thought the Yankees would be serious pursuers for Hunter, but the money and the amount of years he got was out of their price range and I do agree Brian Cashman holding off on making a play for Hunter.
However, the Tigers got a player that bolsters their already potent lineup. Detroit beat the Yankees in the ALCS primarily because of their situational hitting. Every time the Tigers needed to get a big hit, they were able to get it from players like Prince Fielder, Delmon Young, and Jhonny Peralta to go along with AL MVP Miguel Cabrera. Now, you throw into the lineup a player who not only hit .313 last year, but hit .350 in the second half alone.
Hunter will most likely hit second in front of Cabrera, which will allow him to see more pitches to hit in that lineup. Plus, remember when Octavio Dotel talked about in the World Series how the team lacked fire? Well, Torii is the perfect player to bring fuel to that fire with his great clubhouse energy.
Now, do the Tigers still have needs to address? Yes, because they still have to find a way to replace Anibal Sanchez in their rotation. However, this is a team that despite the seventh best record in the AL, swept the Yankees in the ALCS and beat them in five games during the 2011 ALDS. This Detroit team seems to have the Yankees’ number with their trio of very good pitchers (Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Max Scherzer) and an ability to come up with a timely hit at any given moment. If these two teams were to match up in the 2013 playoffs, it would be interesting to see if the Yankees could find a way to get the upper hand this time. Only time will tell!