Make no mistake—signing Hunter immediately makes the Tigers a better team. How does his signing impact what the White Sox are trying to do this offseason, though?
The short answer is that it doesn’t.
General manager Rick Hahn has to fill the same holes on the 25-man roster he did before Hunter signed with the Tigers.
Third base is still an area of great concern. Hahn must also decide whether Tyler Flowers is the answer behind the plate, and the White Sox still have six or seven starting pitchers on the roster.
There are at least two arbitration eligible players (Alejandro De Aza and Gordon Beckham) whose contract situations must be addressed.
Dayan Viciedo is due a raise if his signing bonus is factored into his minimum guaranteed salary. Viciedo has also been the subject of rumors that he is on the trading block or may be moving to third base.
Hahn has his hands full and to say that drama is running high on the South Side would be an understatement.
Now, Hunter, 37, is coming off a very productive year for the Los Angles Angels. He hit .313, belted 16 home runs, drove in 92 and had an .817 OPS. Further, the 5.5 WAR he posted in 2012 was the highest of his career.
As a result, the Tigers’ lineup is now significantly better, and the White Sox road to the playoffs next season may be even tougher.
But following a season that saw the White Sox stay in first place for 117 days, only to end, as the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers put it, “with a whimper,” the Hunter signing does not impact the White Sox all that much.
Look, the Tigers are the reigning AL champions. They’re a good team, and they got better.
Good for them.
The White Sox need to take care of their business this offseason, field a winner and let the 2013 season play itself out.