Hunter sees writing on wall, but keeps hope alive

The Angels declined to tender Torii Hunter a $13.3 million qualifying offer today. It’s an expected move, yes, but it’s also a sign of how far apart the two sides are. Frankly, they’re far. Very far. And Hunter is starting to realize that it may not work out. But he’s also holding out hope.

Here’s what he said when reached by phone today …

On not receiving a qualifying offer …

I figured they wouldn’t. I’m not surprised. They have so much going on with Vernon Wells’ contract and they have to wheel and deal. I mean, all is not lost. There’s still a chance that I can be there, so we’ll see what happens. But right now, it’s the business side of baseball and my agent, Larry Reynolds, and I, we’re going to just come up with a game plan because it’s also a business for me. This is my business, this is my company, this is my job – me. And I have to take care of that company, so that’s what I’m going to do to the best of my availability.

On having to move on …

Moving on doesn’t mean I have to stray away from the Angels. Yeah, I have to move on. I have to go out there and see what’s out there for me. But as a free agent, the Angels are a part of that, too. Like I said, there’s still love in my heart for the Angels. Don’t get it twisted. But I have to be ready to take care of my company, which is me.

On how it’s gone …

Just individually – I love the Angels’ organization, I love the fans, I love my teammates, I love my manager. So, of course, I want to be there and you’ve been hearing about that all season. But it’s just not working out. It didn’t work out today. But all is not lost.

On the confidence level for a return …

It’s pretty low. … But you know, like I said, all is not lost and you never know. [Owner] Arte [Moreno] knows what he’s doing, he’s a business man, and when you think something’s not going to happen with him, it happens. I still think there’s a shot, but at the same time, there’s going to be a lot of teams with shots. I have to do that.

On playing on a winning team …

My plan is to win no matter what, and if I’m on a winning team, of course I’m going to try to get with a ballclub that’s trying to win. That’s the plan.

On playing center field …

I will be in shape for center field. … Don’t get it twisted, because a lot of people look into the numbers, I can play the outfield no matter where it is. I can play it no matter what. So any team asks me to play anywhere, I can play it, no matter what. And I’d probably be a lot better than normal.



If Vernon Wells really wants to step up and be a team player, he should agree to have his contract restructured. He is owed $42 million over the next two years. He should have that amount spread out over six years. It would create financial flexibility for the team.

Some guys do the right thing. Knowing that he could never be effective again as a starter, Gil Meche retired rather than take the $12 million he was owed by the Royals. In June 1994, Ryne Sandberg was hitting just .238 and was disgusted with his performance. Rather than coast, he retired and walked away from $15 million.



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