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Torii Hunter drawing strong interest, not close to signing

The outfielder's strongest interest is coming from the Tigers, Royals and Twins.

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Free-agent outfielder Torii Hunter is drawing interest from about ten teams, including the Tigers, Royals, Twins, Cubs, Rangers, Giants and Mariners, according to reports from Bob Nightengale of USA Today and's Ken Rosenthal. Nightengale reports that the most aggressive teams reside in the AL Central, while Rosenthal notes that Hunter's preference is to remain with the Tigers, especially if Victor Martinez returns to Detroit.

Though the Tigers, Royals and Twins have been known to be going after Hunter since the start of free agency, the Cubs, Rangers, Giants and Mariners are new entries into the sweepstakes. The 39-year old Hunter is expected to sign a one- or possibly two-year deal on the open market, and has also floated retirement as a possibility.

Despite the heavy interest, league sources indicate that Hunter is not close to signing and is waiting to evaluate his options as the offseason unfolds. Teams in search of a right-handed bat may choose the cheaper option of signing Hunter instead of doling out long-term contracts to expensive options like Nelson Cruz or Pablo Sandoval.