"Is Aubrey Huff the Final Piece to the Off Season Puzzle?" posted by Michael McGauley
Hey, we all wanted another bat, right? I like Aubrey Huff, but I certainly like the 2008 Aubrey Huff better than the 2009 version. I was lucky enough to go to the old Yankee Stadium in July of '08, and saw the Yanks beat the Orioles on a sweltering Wednesday afternoon. Aubrey Huff was smack in the middle of a potent Baltimore Line-up with Brian Roberts at the top, Adam Jones second, Nick Markakis batting third, followed by Huff in the clean-up slot, and Melvin Mora hitting fifth. Huff was batting over .300 at the time, and drove in his 72nd RBI in that game (in July!) -- I remember, because I just looked it up; July 30th, 2008. He went on to finish the season with 108 RBI's, 32 homers, 48 doubles, 182 hits, 96 runs, a .360 on-base percentage in 598 at-bats and 154 games played. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, last year was not so good. His average dipped to .241, with 15 home runs and 85 RBI's in time split between Baltimore and Detroit; following a mid-season trade. He had far fewer at-bats though (430), and only 109 hits, so I think it's a matter if consistency and playing everyday for Huff to be successful. I would say probably not a 30 home run guy at A.T.& T. Park, but I would be thrilled with 100 RBI's and 40 doubles and maybe twenty-something home runs, especially hitting behind guys like Freddy Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval. Let's re-visit that opening line-up scenario with the addition of Huff: 2B SanchezSS Renteria3B Sandoval1B HuffLF De RosaRF Schierholtz (Byrnes???)CF RowandC PoseySP Lincecum O.K., who hits lead-off? I was thinking Velez would get a look, but that was before they signed Huff, and now have to move De Rosa to left field from third base. My assumption is Sanchez would be at the top, but I would prefer to see him in the number two hole, and bat Renteria seventh where he belongs. Is Buster Posey going to be the opening day catcher? Who knows? Remember, Aaron Rowand was at his best last year in the lead-off slot. And what's the deal with Adam LaRoche? He turned down a two-year deal for more money from the Giants to accept a one-year deal with Arizona? I thought it was location (East Coast versus West Coast), but apparently, it's all about the ball park. Let's be sure to boo La Roche heartily when the D-Backs come to town. It's kind of like Colorado's Todd Helton, who openly displays his disdain for hitting in the Giants' yard (although I saw him launch a home run in S.F. last season). To make room on the 40-man roster, Arizona released Eric Byrnes, who has suffered through two miserable, injury-riddled seasons. To me, he would be an ideal fourth outfielder. He's a local guy who grew up here, and still has a home here. In 2007 in 160 games for Arizona, Byrnes had 626 at-bats, 179 hits (.286 average), .353 on-base percentage, 21 homers, 83 RBI's and 50 stolen bases. That was the year Arizona played Colorado in the NLCS. Anyway, I don't know if his body is breaking down as a result of age (33-34ish), or if there's another explanation, but he would be a great get. Hey, Eric Byrnes at 85% is better than Fred Lewis as a fourth outfielder (sorry Fred). If the lead-off slot becomes and issue, Byrnes could (I didn't say "should") be considered an option, and play right field. Oh, and good bye Merkin Valdez -- you freaking gas can! Great fast ball, but no control. The Giants dumped Valdez to make room on their 40-man roster for Aubrey Huff, and look; we're right back at the beginning of this conversation. Spring training is getting closer everyday. Let's go!
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