Torii to give retirement serious consideration

Outfielder set to enter free agency at age 39

Torii to give retirement serious consideration

DETROIT -- Torii Hunter joined the Tigers hoping to cap his career with a World Series ring. As he sat in a dejected clubhouse, stunned by an American League Division Series sweep to the Orioles, he had to wonder if that chance was fading away.

And as he looks at free agency at age 39, he admitted that retirement is an option for him following Sunday's 2-1 loss

"I've thought about that a lot," Hunter said. "Just talk it over with my wife. We'll see what happens."

It was the first time he referenced thinking about retirement. Hunter has said he feels good enough that he could play as many as two more years.

  Date   Matchup/Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 2   BAL 12, DET 3 video
Gm 2 Oct. 3   BAL 7, DET 6 video
Gm 3 Oct. 5   BAL 2, DET 1 video

Physically, he said, he feels fine, well younger than his age. Mentally, he said, he's tired from the grind of a season he called a roller coaster.

"I've never been a part of anything like that in my life," Hunter said.

If Hunter continues playing, he would like to re-sign with the Tigers. Whether the feeling is mutual remains to be seen. He seemingly has a supporter in manager Brad Ausmus, who raved down the stretch about the impact Hunter made in the clubhouse.

The roster picture in Detroit could have a major impact. If the Tigers are going to add an offensive infusion from within, it's likely to be power-hitting prospect Steven Moya, who played right field this year at Double-A Erie.

Moya batted .276 this season for Double-A Erie with 33 doubles, 35 home runs, 105 RBIs and 16 stolen bases, all in 133 games. He had just eight at-bats with the Tigers as a September callup before heading to the Arizona Fall League, but he appears likely to head to Spring Training with a chance to compete for a job with the big club.

Then again, the Tigers could have a gaping hole at designated hitter if they're unable to re-sign Victor Martinez, also a free agent this winter.

A short-term deal could give the Tigers a way to plug a hole, or a right-handed hitter to share playing time with the left-handed-hitting Moya. On Hunter's side, it would keep him within a short drive of his son, Torii Jr., a redshirt freshman wide receiver for Notre Dame.

If Hunter retires, he'll close an 18-year career with a .279 average, 331 home runs and 1,310 RBIs.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.