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Angels pass on qualifying offer to Hunter, making it more likely he's done there

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider

The Angels paid Torii Hunter $18 million each of the last three years. They weren't willing to commit to paying him $13.3 million next year.

Does that mean Hunter is definitely done in Anaheim, despite all the times he said he wanted to stay and despite the times they said they wanted to keep him?

Not necessarily, but it sure seems headed that way.

Hunter remains eligible to re-sign, even though the Angels failed to make him the qualifying offer by Friday's 5 p.m. ET deadline. But by not making the offer, the Angels signaled their intentions, and also made Hunter more attractive to other teams as a free agent.

Hunter now costs a signing team only money, and not a draft pick. Had the Angels made him a qualifying offer, the signing team would have lost a pick, possibly a first-round pick.

But if the Angels had made the offer, they risked the possibility that Hunter would have accepted it. With $24.6 million already committed to Vernon Wells next year, they obviously weren't willing to take that chance.

Hunter, 37, had an .817 OPS in 2012 when he drove in 92 runs. He hit .389 with a .982 OPS and 30 RBI in his final 32 games, as the Angels battled unsuccessfully to win a playoff spot.

There's no question the Angels would be better off with Hunter than Wells. But if they keep both of them, the outfield would remain crowded, with Mike Trout in center field, and Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos also looking for playing time.

Hunter is likely the odd man out. Friday's decision only makes that a little more obvious.

 
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