This offseason Torii Hunter had his choice of teams to join. His attitude, leadership, experience and ability all contributed to him being coveted by a number of teams that consider themselves playoff contenders. Hunter decided to say no to the Rangers, the Dodgers, the Yankees and Red Sox amongst others and instead inked a two-year deal with the Detroit Tigers. This is exactly the kind of player the Tigers need. Even though Hunter is now 37-years-old he showed last year in Los Angeles that he still has plenty of good baseball left in him. The Tigers don’t need Hunter to be an MVP candidate. Those days are in the past and their offense is already loaded. What they need is a stabilizing force at the top of their lineup to bat in front of Miguel Cabrera and someone that brings a slick glove to a team that struggled defensively a year ago. Hunter brings both to the Motor City.
Torii Hunter joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about why he chose Detroit, if he picked Detroit so he wouldn’t have to face their pitching staff anymore, if he was surprised that his former teammate Mike Trout didn’t win the Gold Glove and what he will say to Miguel Cabrera given the fact that Cabrera topped his former teammate for MVP honors.
On his decision to go to Detroit:
“It’s the perfect fit. Just been watching the teams and everything and they want me to hit second, in front of (Miguel) Cabrera, you can’t beat that. They want me to play right field and I saw this team and it’s still intact. Annibal Sanchez is one of the pieces that could be there or maybe not and Delmon Young, so I’m there to kind of replace Delmon Young and play right field, hit second and I just look at that starting rotation, (Justin) Verlander, (Max) Scherzer, (Doug) Fister and young Drew Smyly who might be the fifth starter or fourth starter and I’m pretty sure they’re going to add somebody else. I really think this ball club can get it done.”
Did you just pick Detroit to avoid that pitching staff?
“(Laughing) Pretty much. I don’t have to face those guys anymore and that’s the best thing about it. I’m on the other side of that and I get to watch everybody else strike out or pop up or whatever it may be and it’s not me. I’m excited to be playing with those guys.”
What he thinks about Mike Trout missing out on the Gold Glove:
“I was shocked because he had a really good year. You’re talking about Adam Jones who is still one of the best center fielders in baseball but Trout, being my teammate, working with him every day, I watched him on defense and whatever I would tell that kid to do on defense he went out the next day and he got it done in batting practice. He worked on it, we were out there talking and different things like that and he tried to apply it on the field, I really commend him on that, he’s a great listener, he wants to learn, he doesn’t think he’s all that or he knows everything. A lot of kids these days, they do that but Trout is not one of them.”
What he will say to Cabrera given that he beat out Trout for MVP:
“I’m going to say congratulations because regardless you can’t go wrong with either one of those guys. Cabrera had a Triple Crown and that hadn’t happened since what 1945? (Host: ’67.) See that hadn’t happened in years so if you think about what he did this guy has put up sick numbers and they don’t give that MVP away to just anybody. If they would’ve given it Mike Trout or Cabrera you could never go wrong.”
If he has raced his son, who committed to Notre Dame recently:
“You can’t ever beat the dad. In basketball, I’m going to trip you, I’m going to foul you, I’m going to bump you. (Host: But a straight 40-yard dash?) I will run and then I will bump him. It’s just the way it goes. You’re not going to beat me. I’m going to find a way to beat you. Like for me I told him two weeks ago, we were racing, I said ‘I will race you for 100 bucks’ and he was like ‘man I will race you anytime.’ We’re out there, racing in front of his friends and I raced him. Yeah he beat me but I raced him so he owed me 100 bucks. I didn’t say ‘I was going to beat you,’ I said ‘I was going to race you.’ (Host: Did you race against Trout?) Yeah I got Trout too. They owe me 100 bucks. I will race you for 100 bucks. Got on the line, Trout took off, he cut out, he beat me and everybody is screaming and then I said ‘I want my 100 bucks.’ He goes ‘why? I won, I won.’ I said ‘I never said I would beat you, I said I would race you.’ Trout is a victim too.”
Listen to Torii Hunter on The Dan Patrick Show here (Audio begins 14:20 into the podcast)