Torii Hunter keeping tabs on winter meetings


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Torii Hunter admits he was surprised at the massive contract the Washington Nationals gave outfielder Jayson Werth, but he doesn’t think it will price his team out of the market for Carl Crawford.

Hunter is closely following the developments from baseball’s winter meetings from his home in Texas, in between his sons’ high school basketball games. Hunter, who has expressed interest in one day becoming a general manager, said he believes the Angels’ No. 1 priority remains to sign Crawford.

Hunter said he would have no problem becoming the second highest-paid player on his team. He signed a club-record five-year, $90 million contract in November 2007.

“I just want to win. If Carl Crawford is the type of player that gets $25 million, so be it,” Hunter said. “You’re going to get paid no matter what. Carl Crawford is someone I want on my team no matter how much money he makes. That’s the truth.”

Hunter is friends with Crawford and has spoken to him during this process, but he isn’t sure what direction the negotiations are going to go. He thinks Crawford’s interest in playing for the Angels is genuine.

“What wouldn’t appeal to him about playing in California, in the sun, in front of 40,000 a game and have the potential of winning,” Hunter said. “We lost to the Texas Rangers, but they were a great team. Every year, we’ve got to win and I think we can.”