With the mega-trade that went between the Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins (more accurately described as one team deciding they're alright with losing 110 games to save some cash) and the announcement of Cy Young Award winners, the Detroit Tigers signing of Torii Hunter went completely under the radar.
Hunter, 37, was one of the most productive players in the American League last year, posting a .313 average and belting 16 home runs and 92 RBI. His fielding is still above average in right and while his wheels aren't great, he can still swipe the occasional bag.
Going to Detroit, Hunter will surely hit in the two-hole behind Austin Jackson and ahead of Miguel Cabrera, once again finding himself in a premier spot.
Nobody in the media seems to be talking about it, but Trout benefited largely from having such a stacked lineup right behind him, and that starts with Hunter.
I'm not for one second suggesting that Trout isn't a world-class player all by himself, because he is. You or I could hit behind him and he's still a threat to win the batting title and likely to club 30 bombs.
However, it's later in the game when the loss of Hunter is going to be profoundly felt. For example, say Oakland is beating them 2-1 in the seventh inning with 1 out and Trout coming up.
Last year, you would fear walking Trout because Hunter is behind him. Now, it'll likely be Peter Bourjos. No disrespect to the man, but I'm pitching Trout very carefully to talk my chances with Bourjos.
It'll take the bat out of Trout's hands more, and he will certainly see less-quality pitches.
All of this is another reason why I hope the A's keep Stephen Drew. The shortstop isn't a great player, but he's extremely solid and I believe he'll have a career year hitting between Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes.
If Drew can stay healthy (and let's face it, that's a large if) I'm willing to bet he hits around .280-.285 with 15 home runs and an OBP of around .350.
I fear that without Drew, Oakland doesn't have a good fit in the two-hole should Jemile Weeks have another sub-par season. Even so, the lineup would look so much nicer with Drew hitting second and Weeks slotted ninth, giving the A's a lethal 9-1 combo if Weeks is right.
The only other guy you could move in there is Josh Donaldson, but I feel he's better suited to be hit in the 6th or 7th spot.
So what do you guys think? Does Torii Hunter create a hole in L.A.? If he leaves, does Stephen Drew create a conundrum with the top of the order, or is he overrated?