This offseason will be the year of the center fielder. Out of all positions, Center field has more depth in the free agent market than any other position this year. Teams will be fighting over Aaron Rowand, Torii Hunter, Mike Cameron, and Andruw Jones. Not including Aaron Rowand, this bunch of players is so overrated it makes my head spin. Let's do a little free agent profile on the "great" Torii Hunter.
Torii Hunter, on the surface, looks like a great pick up for any club. He's going to carry a heavy price tag, probably 15-17 million a year, and he wants a lengthy contract. Any team willing to pay Torii Hunter that kind of money should first shoot themselves right in the win column, because that is what they are doing by signing him anyway. It tickles me to think this guy is regarded as one of the best center fielders in the game.
On the surface, he looks like a pretty decent player. He has collected six 20+ home run seasons, five of 90+ RBI's, three of 20+ stolen bases, two all-star appearances, and six gold gloves. The gold gloves are well deserved, he is a terrific fielder, I will give him that. But if you look between the "counting" numbers, at the stats that really matter, and you see a very average offensive player, one with a ridiculous price tag. Hunter's career obp is .324, which is below league average. His personal high was .337, which came in the year 2005, when he played only 98 games. The American League Average is .338 this year, so he has never even had an average year in that sense. His career high in walks is 50, and he averages around 40 a year. That wouldn't be terrible......Oh what the hell, that's terrible, bottom line. You can rely on him to have over 100 K's a year, and that number, next to total walks, looks terrible. His Walk to strikeout ratio for his career is nearly 1/3, as he has 319 walks compared to 870 strikeouts. In the OPS+ category, he has had only one good year(125 or better), which was in 2002 when he had a 126 OPS+. Other than that, he is downright average, with a career ops+ of 104. Gross!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So when you think your team is getting a top flight center fielder, think again. What they are really getting is an average offensive center fielder with a good glove. Not bad, but you don't want to be shelling out 18 million a year for "AVERAGE". You want Albert Pujols numbers with that kind of money, and this is one guy your not going to get them from.