The Case for Aubrey Huff
Amidst the chaos that has been a largely inactive offseason so far, one name hasn’t been discussed among the Adam LaRoches and Nick Johnsons of the world. That name is Aubrey Huff. He’s cheaper than four years and $40 million worth of Adrian Beltre or whatever Adam LaRoche’s demands may be.
Because the front office is committed to not offering Ryan Garko, an almost identical player to LaRoche, a contract, Huff is our next best option.
Coming off of a down season, he very well may be had for a short term discount price so that he can attempt to reestablish some value before hitting the market again. With the right deal, it could represent a good low risk/high reward signing for a 32 year-old with career slash stats of .282/.340/.472. For more money, more years, and more problems we can have Adam LaRoche and his nearly identical .272/.343/.491 line. If we’re going to non-tender a completely adequate first baseman in the mold of Ryan Garko, the least we can do is get a hold of an equally cheap, slightly better option.
To compare LaRoche, Garko, and Huff, Fangraphs provides us with this handy graph of their ISO (basically a measure of their raw power):
With the exception of a couple down years, Huff represents the best value for the production we can likely expect. He’s essentially like LaRoche and Garko in terms of ability only with better platoon splits. And since Garko’s not coming back due to his alleged tenuous relationship with Bruce Bochy, that leaves us with Adam LaRoche’s demands for a three year $31.5 million contract. Or Aubrey Huff for a one year deal that doesn’t leave as hamstrung a la Aaron Rowand.
Now if Huff doesn’t hit, then we’re none the worse. Our other option would be to overpay for Beltre, a Scott Boras client nonetheless, and deal with the second coming of Pedro Feliz for three to four years. And with Dan Uggla looking like less and less of a possibility, halfway decent hitters are getting harder to find. I’ve been over the list of possible targets more times than I’d like to count, and trust me, this is a last ditch kind of effort to dig up some semblance of offense out of what is turning into a largely disappointing offseason.
So please, Sabes, I’d like Aubrey Huff in a Giants uniform for Christmas. Even though there’s been absolutely no mention of Huff anywhere in the same sentence as the Giants. But a boy can dream, can’t he?