Tigers were Torii Hunter's top choice from beginning of free agency

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Newly signed outfielder Torii Hunter reportedly wanted to sign with the Tigers all along and actively warned other teams to stop pursuing him in free agency.

Signed to a two-year, $26 million contract on Wednesday, new Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter informed Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com that he had been coveting Detroit all along as his No. 1 destination in free agency.

The 37-year-old Hunter hit a career-high .313 last season with the Angels, and was reportedly insulted by an offer from Los Angeles that led him to shift his attention to the free agent market. Knobler also indicates that Hunter informed prospective teams that he had absolutely zero interest in signing with them unless his Detroit deal fell through, which is a clear testament to how badly the nine-time Gold Glove winner truly wanted to join the organization.

Likely to step into the No. 2 spot in manager Jim Leyland's batting lineup right away, Hunter has been one of the most productive outfielders in the sport over the last decade. The 15-year veteran is expected to take over right field duties next to budding center fielder Austin Jackson, and will help give the Tigers one of their most talented groups of defensive outfielders in a long while.

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