Sunday, January 10, 2010
Aubrey Huff to the Giants... The Sabean haters will have a field day
In case you haven't heard, Aubrey Huff is a Giant.
This is definitely one name that I hadn't heard throughout this seemingly interminable offseason.
Look, before we piss and bitch, moan and groan, let's just throw out a couple things to get them out of the way.
-- Huff is a career American Leaguer other than a 68 game tour with the Astros in '06
-- He is 33 years old
-- Huff has played significant amounts of RF in addition to being primarily a 1B/3B
-- He has a career line of .282/.340/.472 (.812 OPS)
-- He's never hit less than 15HR in a season since 2001 (his 1st year as a starter)
-- He's never had more than 53 walks in a season
-- He's one season removed (2008) from a 32 HR, 108 RBI, 48 double, .912 OPS season
-- Huff's career BABIP (Batting average on balls hit in play) is .296 (not too shabby)
-- His career UZR\150 numbers: 1B: -4.0; 3B: -4.4; RF: -9.8 (1B w/BAL in '09 was -.3.5
-- Bill James predicts him to go for 20HR/66RBI with a .267 average
Now that you have some background, let's look a little deeper into this.
First of all, this is a textbook "low-risk, high-reward" signing. Yes Huff is 33, and yes, he had a horrendous year last year split between the Baltimore Orange Birds and the Detroit Philanderers. There is no defending that. I will not get into any specifics, because it was by far his worst season, and based on the man's track record, it was negative fluke. For 1 year and $3MM, you could do A LOT WORSE.
Not to say that this could be a waste. With another primary infielder added to the mix, we are certainly looking at a fullish looking roster (without even getting into the 40 man roster business). As the MLBTR article says, it looks like Huff is going to be primarily a first baseman, although he's capable of playing 3rd.
In 2006 when Huff last played at least 90 games at the hot corner, he posted a -7.4 UZR/150 rating. That compares well with Kung Fu's '09 rating of -6.4, DeRosa's '09 rating of -8.7, and Juan Uribe's number of +4.8 (in only 44 games). It shouldn't matter much, as Huff should rarely see 3rd. I was simply illustrating that he's capable.
Plus, Huff's arrival pushes DeRosa to LF, his best defensive position.
(----> Huff is on the left. Come on. How can you not like this guy? If nothing else, Brian Wilson has a new beer pong partner for Wasted Wednesdays at Bar None. Check out the link at the bottom of the article for the story after you read it all!)
"Great." you say, "More mediocre old guys.
If by "mediocre old guys" you mean guys past the age of 32 who can't steal any bases or hit more than 25 dongs, then yes. We have another mediocre old guy.
Without looking at what positives Huff could bring to the table, I'm already expecting to see Grant over at McCovey Chronicles pulling his hair out through his blog post.
The anti-Sabean movement among hardcore Giants fans (read: blog-reading, obsessive fanatics like us), seems to have been getting worse and worse. I mean, yeah, I get it, but who would you have preferred?
Personally, I would have preferred Carlos Delgado, who hit 38 dongs in '08 with a -3.4 UZR/150 at first base. However, while Huff was having a dreadful season in '09 at the plate, Delgado was recovering from severe hip surgery. In addition, he would not have come for $3MM and one year. He certainly would've required 2 years, at something more like $12-16MM. Which naturally would have spurred raucous complaining about signing old guys to long contracts among the legions of unrealistic fans out there. Of course, we'll see how Delgado's situation turns out, but Huff's one year deal is indicative of the "New Sabean".
Like many of us, changing how we operate is difficult. Sabean has doled out so many bad contracts to 30+ year old free agents (Winn, Rowand, Roberts, etc.), that he is no longer capable of signing anyone to anything more than a 2 year deal, while still not capable of avoiding 30+ somethings altogether. He's simply too gunshy at this point-- and with good reason. He'll still get blasted by the anti-Sabean mafia, but he's in a no-win situation. Just be grateful that Adam LaRoche blew off our offer this past week.
And hell, if Huff hits 12 home runs and plays average defense, he's gone next year without hurting us too badly. So let's just look at what we've got in our bag of tricks... I mean, collection of thirty somethings:
Util: Juan Uribe, Travis Ishikawa, Andres Torres, etc.
Hey, I don't hate it. What the lunatic fringe needs to understand is that this is SOOOOO much better than last year. Remember? A.U. Velez? Fred Lewis? Matt Downs?
If you still can't stand it, at least Huff is a part of Bill Simmons's "Lindsey Hunter all-stars". Of course that being male athletes with names that sound like chicks. This list includes Andrea Bargniani, Ashley Lelie, Shannon Sharpe, Kelly Washington, Brook & Robin Lopez, etc.
That and, uh, this:
And here is the link to the story behind Aubrey Huff and that topless hottie. If you are gay or under 18, don't click on it. Seriously, don't make me the weirdo here.
Things got a little weird when Aubrey was in studio for "Bubba and the Love Sponge".