The Rangers were close with Hunter on Tuesday, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reported. However, Hunter heads back to the Twins, the team that drafted him back in 1993 with the 20th overall pick. It wasn't a homecoming discount either, as Rosenthal noted that Hunter's offer from the Twins was higher than his offer from the Rangers.
Hunter was drafted by the Twins back in 1996 and spent 11 seasons in Minnesota, going to two All-Star Games and winning seven Gold Glove awards. He has three more All-Star appearances since his first stint with the Twins, while also capturing two more Gold Gloves. Hunter has played in 18 big league seasons.
This past season, with the Tigers, Hunter hit .286/.319/.446 with 17 homers and 83 runs batted in over 586 plate appearances. His OPS was 11 percent better than league average. Hunter provided below average defense, saving -16 runs from scoring this past year. Nonetheless, he can still hit, and could be a nice addition to the Twins' lineup.
The 39-year-old Hunter has a career .279/.334/.465 slash line, while averaging 24 homers and 95 runs batted in over every 162 games. The Twins cannot expect Hunter to play that well, but he could still definitely be a good addition to a Twins lineup that already includes the likes of Kurt Suzuki, Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, and Trevor Plouffe.
The Arkansas native will try to bring the Twins back into contention. The team hasn't been to the playoffs since 2010 and has finished either fourth or fifth in the AL Central division every year since. They have an interesting farm system, but as they look to begin turning things around, it's really unclear if Hunter will be apart of their success, especially at age 39.
Hunter could be a mentor to Byron Buxton and other young Twins outfielders who are making their ways closer to the major leagues. Other than Josh Willingham (who retired), the Twins outfield consisted of 23-year-old Danny Santana, 23-year-old Oswaldo Arcia, and 24-year-old Aaron Hicks. Hunter, being a big baseball veteran, will definitely help these guys help grow as a hitter and a professional.