The Giants might have overpaid a little for Aubrey Huff. Good.
Is this what post-championship bliss is like? Is this the transactional equivalent of lighting a cigar with a $100 bill? Good. Huff reminds me that the Giants won the World Series, in no small part because he wasn’t Adam LaRoche or Nick Johnson. Give a big raise to Huff, and the other two can sit in the corner and think about what they did. Wait, someone needs to put bubble wrap in the corner before Johnson si…damn. Too late. Wrenched phantom vestigial tail. Sixty-day DL. Best of luck, Nick.
When someone scores a touchdown and celebrates by dancing, dancing, dancing like a fool to celebrate, you might hear an old-timer say something crusty like, "Act like you’ve been there before." Well, we haven’t been here before. This is all new to us. So I’m a third of the way through the Icky Shuffle, and that’s going to lead to a sixteen-minute Robocop. I refuse to act like I’ve been here before, and I don’t blame the Giants for not getting hung up on cold, boring logic. Everyone gets a raise, and here’s a $50 gift card for Red Lobster while we’re at it. I don't care if Yankees fans are laughing at us for acting like noobs.
There’s every reason to question the logic of the deal. Huff is going to be 34 (uh), he’s coming off a season in which he surprisingly improved on his career numbers (wait…), and he plays the same position as the only plus-plus-prospect in the system (oh, that always works out). He’s getting paid like the player he was last year, not like the player he’s likely to be for the next two years.
But he’s Aubrey Huff, World Champion. And from a purely baseball perspective, it’s not as if the Giants signed him to be a bunch of good memories stuffed in a thong – the guy can still play. He brought a measure of patience to the lineup that had been completely missing, and he’s definitely preferable to the free agent alternatives. His ability to play a corner outfield spot gives the Giants some options that they wouldn’t have if he were a Prince Fielder type.
My biggest fear is that if Huff craters and goes down a dark, Randy Winn career path where he just can’t hit at all, there’s no way that Bruce Bochy will recognize it in time. There’s a perfectly plausible scenario in which Brandon Belt is hitting .370/.450/.640 in Fresno through July, and Aubrey Huff is hitting .189/.265/.302, Detroit-style, for game after game after game after game.
That’s some seriously apocalyptic thinking, though. It’s not like Huff turning 34 or 35 is going to make his nose fall off like he’s Binkley’s dad. It’s far more likely that Huff hits closer to his career averages of .283/.345/.476, runs okay, plays decent defense, cracks more than a few jokes, and spends a little time in left with Mark DeRosa, Pat Burrell, or, uh, Carl Crawford when Belt is ready.
The Giants entered the offseason needing a first baseman and a corner outfielder. If nothing changes, they have a first baseman who can also play a corner outfield spot if one of the best first baseman prospects in the minors is ready for the majors. It’s not an inexpensive kind of depth, but it beats wondering if Dan Ortmeier is going to win the job in Scottsdale. I would have preferred something closer to a 2/$16M deal, with the savings thrown Juan Uribe’s way, but that’s just nitpicking. An extra $6M is nitpicking, you might ask? Maybe that’s not the perfect way to describe the difference, but I don’t think it will prevent the Giants from building the teams they would have built in 2011 and 2012 if Huff were a little cheaper.
In conclusion, the 2010 San Francisco Giants won the World Series.