-Twins GM Terry Ryan, in reference to Torii Hunter's future
Quite the well-rehearsed company line, eh? Sounds to me like he said a whole lot without officially saying anything. I completely respect that Ryan and the club don't allow a mid-season circus surround the volatile issue of re-signing free agents. He simply does not cater to the media feeding frenzy. This tight-lipped, no-nonsense conviction has been the modus operandi of the Twins and it has suited them just fine in the last handful of years.
As a counter-point, the White Sox were a bit looser with their Mark Buehrle talks and, subsequently, the team backed itself into a corner. At the risk of pissing off their fan base, they saved face by upping the ante to keep Buehrle, a great clubhouse guy who has many solid but not great years left in him. Sound familiar?
I get the vibe that Torii will be apartment hunting some time this year (sooner if the team doesn't show immediate signs of life out of the gate). I understand Ryan isn't going to hint one way or the other, but it's easier to interpret his words with a negative spin. The crux of the matter is Torii played himself out of the team's budget. He picked the absolute best time to have a career year, unlike his counterpart in Atlanta.
Minnesota fans should feel like proud parents sending Torii into the real world, proverbially graduating from his schooling and apprenticeship summa cum laude and ready to rake in big corporate bucks. If you gave fans the choice of keeping one player among
If it plays out that way, there should be no hard feelings between either side. Fans are bludgeoned to death with the pat phrase "That's the business of the game," but that's the simple truth in this case. Torii deserves to be paid in the upper echelon of players and the Twins can't afford to saddle the team with the kind of contract he will command. The Hunter saga will weigh on fans' minds the rest of the season, even if mum's the word from management's mouth.