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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Huff's Back, 2 Years/$22 Million

Well, it was obvious both sides genuinely wanted to get a deal done, and they did so quicker than even I expected Tuesday morning, as the Giants signed first basemen Aubrey Huff to a 2 year, $22 Million deal.

My first thoughts were, good, Huff's back, but those were immediately followed by the wow! $22 million! Still, I think it's safe to say that the majority of Giants fans wanted Huff back, we all knew it would take more than 1 year, and at $11M per season, it's only about $2-3 more than I was expecting he'd get. The one spot where this FA market is stocked at is first base, with Adam Dunn, Carlos Pena, Paul Konerko, Derek Lee and Adam LaRoche leading the charge, but the Giants got a great performance out of Huff in 2010 and know he's not detoured from hitting at AT&T Park. If the Giants don't have Aubrey Huff in 2010, no World Series tittle. So did they jump the gun a bit and overpay a tad to get him back, sure, but after what he did for them, the versatility he brings and the presence he provides in that young clubhouse, I don't think this team could have stood to have lost him. Plus, like I said earlier, I think the Giants signed him with the tentative vision of him at first base, but Aubrey played a perfect left field in 2010, granted in just 46 games and has the ability to do so daily. His range is average at best in left, but he's better than Pat Burrell, who never seemed to be much of an issue out there. So signing Huff does still leave Sabes that option to add another bat at first if an un-passable opportunity presented itself.

And with that, the Giants have made their first move since the World Series, and Brian Sabean's attempt to build a tittle defending team is underway. As long as Huff doesn't go all Mark DeRosa on us and get all injury prone all the sudden, then I think he'll be just fine over the next 2 seasons. With the Giants now appear set at first base, it leaves left field and shortstop as the two remaining positions of need. As far as shortstop, the name of the week seems to be Jason Bartlett, as the Rays have prospects on his heels ready to take over, and Bartlett is set to make around $6 million in 2011. The 31 year-old shortstop had a Derek Jeter-like year in the Rays' in 2009, and was a key component to their 2008 success, but fell off big time in 2010. After carrying a .320/14/66/.879 with 30 steals and a near .400 OBP in '09, he fell down to .254/4/47/.675 with 11 steals and a .324 OBP.

It's not just his offense that took the dive in 2010 though, as his defense, for a 30 year-old, has taken a steep decline the last 2 years. He's an athletic, quick guy and I know 2010's lack of production (in all areas of his game) had a lot to do with some nagging health issues. He's a better player than what he showed in '10, but I wouldn't jump at the opportunity to bring him in here. I'm not going to get all into his UZR and Rngr numbers or anything like that, but in simple terms, Bartlett was the 3rd worst defensive shortstop in the AL in 2010 with the range-zone average of Miguel Tejada and Christian Guzman. Yes, he's had bad knees and had ankle issue in 2010, but I'm just not sold on the Bartlett and see him more as a 1 year wonder type deal with declining defense and he really isn't an attractive option. I'd much rather look into guys like J.J. Hardy, Yunel Escobar or Eric Aybar (though I doubt LAA lets him go) as far as arbitration eligibles who may be available. Now if Bartlet end's up non-tendered by Tampa (not likely, but possible), and Uribe's out of the picture, then maybe one a 1-year trial, a la Aubrey Huff, but noway do I give up anything of value for him, and certainly not Jonathan Sanchez.

Just read on Bagg's Blog that the Sabean had discussions with a free agent shortstop today and it wasn't Juan Uribe. Baggs' speculates it could be Jeter, but I doubt I think that if the Giants are going to spend $18 million on a player, it should be Carl Crawford. The other top FA shortstops aren't exactly what you'd call enticing: Cesar Isturis, Orlando Cabrera and Felipe Lopez. The one guy of those 3 who could have an upside is the 30 year-old Lopez who's got talent, but doesn't have the best rep as a clubhouse guy. The same was said of Juan Uribe when he first came over and look how that turned out. Lopez the kind of guy that could come here to SF and settle into a great clubhouse atmosphere and possibly turn things around (in '09 he hit .310/9/57/.810, just not sure he's an everyday shortstop). On a minor league, or 1-year, incenctive laden deal, he may just be worth a look (at worst, you get a cheaper version of Mike Fontenot).
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3 Comments:

  • At 1:05 AM, Anonymous Jason Billinglsy said…

    Good deal if you ask me. Hey, it's not my dough they're spending and prices are already going to be sky high after the World Series so why not go get Crawford for left and Uribe back at short. I could dig it:

    Torres CF
    Sanchez 2B
    Crawford LF
    Posey C
    Huff 1B
    Ross RF
    Sandoval 3B
    Uribe SS

    Bow-Tie and Sabes need to do it, lock down Crawford for 4 years and start a dynasty. Crawford, Posey and Sandoval (if he can get back to his normal self) are a nice core kinda like the Yanks Jeter, Posada and Bernie Wiliams, just a lot younger...

    Just my 2 cents on what Brian Sabean and the braintrust should do this year.

    J-Bill

     
  • At 1:08 AM, Anonymous Jason Billinglsy said…

    Ohh, forgot about DeRosa, he could be on the bench with Fontenot, Schierholtz, Ford, Ishikawa and Burris. I think they should use Panda as back-up to Posey if he loses the wait this winter in Arizona.

     
  • At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Brad Anderson said…

    Yeah,

    Huff was a huge part of their success in 2010, like you said, no Huff, no tittle (good as Buster was). Huff carried that offense from April through November and never really had one prolonged slump. I think he's well worth the money as long as he keeps pace with what he did in '10 and that seems reasonable looking at his career line.

     

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