Less than a month into the job, Tony Reagins is turning out to be a pretty aggressive GM. After acquiring Jon Garland in a trade, the Angels signed Torii Hunter to a 5-year $80 million contract. Hunter is one of the best defensive centerfielders in baseball, but this signing seemed to come out of nowhere. Most pundits felt the Angels would look for a power bat in the infield (Miguel Cabrera and Miguel Tejada were rumored), and centerfield appeared set with Gary Matthews, Jr.
"You're a little surprised, huh?" Hunter's agent Larry Reynolds said late Wednesday night. "It all happened within the last 24 hours."
"We are very excited to have Torii joining our organization," Reagins said in a statement. "Not only is he an outstanding ballplayer but he's also an outstanding human being. He'll impact our ballclub and community in a very positive way."
Apparently, now the Angels will shift Matthews to left field while asking Garrett Anderson to be the DH more regularly. While Hunter will improve the Angels outfield defense, he does hit for above-average power, and should boost the Halos offense.
As the first major signing of the free agent period (A-Rod was a re-signing), Hunter has set the market price for other centerfield free agents like Aaron Rowand and Andruw Jones, both of whom are rumored to be Dodger targets. In the meantime, one gets the feeling that Reagins isn't done working this offseason. Reagins seems unafraid to make big roster changes, and he could very well have a few more moves up his sleeve.