Hunter returns to Twins; Medlen, Beachy let go
NEW YORK (AP) — Torii Hunter is returning to the Minnesota Twins, and injured Atlanta pitchers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy were among 32 players tossed into the free-agent market Tuesday along with San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera and New York Mets outfielder Eric Young Jr.
Hunter agreed to a $10.5 million, one-year contract with the Twins, the team announced Wednesday. He was to hold a news conference at Target Field in the afternoon.
A five-time All-Star outfielder who turns 40 in July, Hunter played for the Twins from 1997-07 before signing a $90 million, five-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels. He then signed a $26 million, two-year deal with Detroit.
Hunter hit .286 with 17 homers and 83 RBIs for the Tigers last season and will be relied upon to be the kind of hard-driving veteran a young clubhouse needs to set an example. He won seven of his nine Gold Gloves with the Twins, who have lost at least 92 games in each of the last four seasons.
In a trade, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired outfielder Chris Heisey from Cincinnati for minor league right-hander Matt Magill. Heisey, who turns 30 on Dec. 14, hit .222 with eight homers and 22 RBIs in 119 games last season. He is eligible for arbitration.
Nineteen players eligible for arbitration were let go Tuesday, leaving about 185 eligible to file Jan. 13. Any player offered a contract is entitled to, at a minimum, roughly one-sixth of his 2015 salary as termination pay if he gets released.
Los Angeles Angels infielder Gordon Beckham, Oakland first baseman Kyle Blanks, Texas right-hander Alexi Ogando, New York Yankees left-hander David Huff, Cincinnati reliever Logan Ondrusek and St. Louis infielder Daniel Descalso also were among the players let go.
Once considered rising stars in the rotation, Medlen and Beachy did not pitch in 2014 after ligament-replacement surgeries during spring training, the second Tommy John operation for each.
Cabrera, an All-Star shortstop in 2013, faces charges of resisting arrest and possession of marijuana in a car after he was stopped by authorities in eastern San Diego County on Sept. 3, while he was on the disabled list. He is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 8.
He was suspended by Major League Baseball for the final 50 games of the 2013 season for violating the sport’s drug agreement in relation to its investigation of the Biogenesis of America drug clinic.
Cabrera led the National League with 44 stolen bases in 2012. He batted .232 this year with three homers, 20 RBIs and 18 steals in 90 games, and made $2.45 million.
Young batted .229 with 30 stolen bases in 100 games this year, when his salary was $1.85 million. He led the NL with 46 steals in 2013 and opened last season as New York’s primary leadoff hitter but managed only a .299 on-base percentage and lost playing time in a crowded outfield. The switch hitter finished with a homer and 17 RBIs in 316 plate appearances, scoring 48 runs.
Oakland agreed to one-year contracts with first baseman Ike Davis ($3.8 million) and right-hander Fernando Rodriguez ($635,000). The Dodgers and infielder Darwin Barney agreed at $2,525,000, and the Yankees struck a $1.48 million deal with reliever Esmil Rogers.
In addition, Seattle finalized its $100 million, seven-year deal with All-Star third baseman Kyle Seager, an agreement from last week that had been pending completion.
Among free agents, right-handed reliever Matt Belisle agreed to a $3.5 million, one-year deal with the Cardinals.
AP Sports Writers Mike Fitzpatrick, Jon Krawczynski, Charles Odum and Bernie Wilson contributed to this report.