Could Torii Hunter return to the place he called home for 11 years?
Major League Baseball free agency opened Monday and Hunter's name is on the list of outfielders up for grabs. According to 1500 ESPN, the Twins have already reached out to Hunter's representatives. Here's Darren Wolfson with more:
"Word has it that Hunter has thought previously about finishing his career where it began -- he was the Twins' first round pick in 1993. Hall of Famers Kirby Puckett and new manager Paul Molitor served as mentors to Hunter during spring training and in Molitor's case during the 1997 and 1998 seasons. And Hunter has considered returning the gesture. But he's still chasing a World Series ring and ultimately winning may trump all."
The winning may trump all part of the equation is key. The Twins aren't exactly baseball's cinderella story in waiting, at least not from the outside looking in. And Hunter recently told the Detroit Free Press that he wants to play for a contender.
"Playing for a contender is very important to me," he said, "but taking a lesser role will be hard for me when my core numbers are pretty good, not just for a guy that's 39 years old but also for a 22-year-old player. The last three or four months of the season, I played pretty good defense as well.
"I know that we all get older, but until I give you signs that I can't help a team, don't count me out just yet. I've been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball. Everybody knows what they are going to get."
Ideally, Hunter says, he would like to return to the Tigers.
The 18-year veteran outfielder hit .286 with 17 home runs and 83 RBIs with the Detroit Tigers this season; and he's posted between 78-92 RBIs and at least 16 home runs in every season since leaving the Twins in 2007. He spent 2008-2012 with the Angels and the past two seasons with the Tigers.
Hunter was drafted by the Twins in 1993. His career didn't take off until 2001, when he helped lead Tom Kelly's upstart Twins to a surprising 85-77 record and second place finish in the AL Central.
Hunter's dominance as a defender is on the decline. Here's a tweet from baseball blogger Aaron Gleeman about the 10-time Gold Glove winner.