No qualifying offer for Torii Hunter …
The Angels, as expected, decided against extended a qualifying offer to Torii Hunter by Friday’s deadline, meaning that they won’t get any Draft pick compensation if the free-agent outfielder signs elsewhere this offseason.
Hunter’s agent, Larry Reynolds, admitted that not getting the qualifying offer makes Hunter’s return to the Angels “more of a challenge, without question.”
“But this is not a surprise at all,” Reynolds added. “It’s not like we were expecting them to do anything because [Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto] has been straightforward since Day 1. We appreciate that fact.”
Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams can offer their own free agents a one-year, $13.3 million deal, which is an average of the top 125 player salaries from the previous year. Those who get the offer then have seven days to accept it, and if they don’t, their former teams can obtain a top Draft pick when he signs somewhere else.
For Angels free agents like Maicer Izturis, LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen, this was a non-issue because they made way less than $13.3 million in 2012 and will make way less than that in 2013. For Zack Greinke, acquired from the Brewers in July, it also doesn’t apply because qualifying offers can only be extended to players who have been on the same team all year.
For Hunter, though, it is a big deal.
It means teams won’t have to give up Draft picks to sign him, and it perhaps provides a snapshot of what the Angels are willing to offer him at this point.
“But the teams that want to win a World Series,” Reynolds said, “they’re not going to worry about a Draft pick in exchange for a good player.”
Hunter, who sported a career-high .313 batting average with 16 homers in 2012, seems unlikely to resign with the Angels at this point, sources have said, because the Angels are prioritizing pitching depth and still have to move Vernon Wells.
“In my opinion – and this is not [Dipoto] saying that – they have to focus on bullpen and starting pitching, and they have to deal with that,” Reynolds said. “I think they have a lot of money committed to position players. So, if they get those things handled and then if after that, they try to bring back Torii, that remains to be seen. But we can’t go back and wait on that. We can’t. We have to move forward.”
— Alden Gonzalez