Aubrey Huff had a fantastic year in 2010. His productivity and leadership were essential to the Giants getting into the post-season and winning the World Series. Last year he struggled. His numbers dropped: 86 rbi in 2010, 59 in 2011; 26 HR in 2010 down to 12 in 2011, etc, etc. There is a myth that he plays well ever other year; that myth is not true. He had good years in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010. There is no every-other-year pattern and no particular reason to think that he will have a good year in 2012.
Why we need to give up on Huff: Often the argument is whether Belt (or Pill) is "better" than Huff. This is not exactly the right question to ask. Belt is unknown, unproven. The same with Pill. Huff is the known quantity. Since 2010 he has been the least productive first baseman on a contending team, and one of the least productive first basemen in baseball.
First base is a key offensive position. It is a truism that major league teams need to get a lot of pop, a lot of power and rbi production, from first base. This is especially true for the Giants who do not have bona fide power hitters in either left or right field, the other positions where power often resides. Nate and Melky are awesome and both are having outstanding years in the field and at the plate, however, neither is a prototypical power hitter. (Though Nate has been coming close lately.) The Giants get away with a lot because we get such exceptional production (average and power) from 3rd base and catcher. Nevertheless, we cannot continue to hide a sub-par hitter at first base.
The bottom line is we need to find out what Belt and Pill have to offer, and whether they can solve our first-base problem. Without Huff in the line-up there are 3 possibilities:
1) Belt at 1st (the left-handed option),
2) Pill at first (right handed option),
3) Posey at 1st (Hector behind the plate) (the mixed, rest Posey but keep his bat in the line-up option).
With these 3 options, and with Melky and Nate both raking, there is no room for an aging veteran. Pill, Belt and Hector Sanchez need their at bats. There is no line-up that includes Huff that is in the best interest of the team, that does not hinder our competitive chances and the development and evaluation of our young players.
What to do with Huff is a conundrum. Is it better to cut him or to have him ride the bench? There is some concern either way. His Wally Pipp comment last year seems ill-advised, competitive and unconstructive. However he meant it, its result is to place extra pressure on Belt (oh, you are the Next Lou Gehrig, right?).