The Royals have holes to fill this winter at both right-field and designated hitter, and one player they have looked to fill both holes is free agent outfielder Torii Hunter. The Royals have made no secret about their long-time desire to acquire Hunter, going all the way back to when he was a free agent back in 2007. Hunter would make sense in that he's a right-handed bat that can play right-field, allowing them flexibility at the designated hitter position, although the former Gold Glover has become a big liability defensively at age 39.
So what is the latest on Torii Hunter?
The Rangers are honed in on Hunter and seem to be the leading contenders for his services at this point. Hunter is a Texas native and lives within an hour of the Rangers ballpark. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News indicates the Rangers are being "aggressive" in their pursuit, although a deal is not close. Grant also writes that Hunter may be willing to take a one-year deal for the right situation.
The Royals, however, are one of five American League teams still "in on" Hunter, according to Jon Heyman, joining the Twins, Orioles, and Mariners. Hunter reportedly wants a decision made soon, and plans to sign by the start of the Winter Meetings on Monday. Hunter reportedly wants to play for a contender, suggesting the Twins may be out.
The 39-year old Hunter hit .286/.319/.446 with 17 HR 83 RBI last year for the Tigers. His .765 OPS would have been second among all Royals.