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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giants, Huff agree to two-year deal

Huff and I’ll Huff and I’ll…

First baseman Aubrey Huff is close to a two-year deal to remain with the World Series champion Giants, according to Fox Sports.

The deal is believed to be worth about $22 million and include an option for the 2013 season. Sports Illustrated confirmed the deal as well.

Huff’s 26 homers, 86 RBIs, 100 runs, .385 on-base percentage and .891 OPS led the Giants this season.

The deal represents a substantial raise for Huff, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal with San Francisco last offseason.

Repoz Posted: November 23, 2010 at 06:37 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, giants

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   1. Joe OBrien Posted: November 23, 2010 at 06:44 PM (#3696077)
That's higher than I expected, but as a Giants fan I'm glad it's only two years.

Which means Huff's contract will come off the books at the same time as Rowand's, and be slightly cheaper.
   2. Steve Treder Posted: November 23, 2010 at 06:50 PM (#3696082)
Huff was superb in 2010 at a bargain price. The huge concern about him coming into the season (along with whether his bat was truly toast) was his defense, but he was more than competent both at first base and in the outfield. It isn't clear why the Orioles had him DHing so much.

But no one should expect Huff to put up a 138 OPS+ again. Most likely he'll produce something more like a 110 OPS+, which isn't terrible, but is hardly great from a first baseman-corner outfielder, and at $11 million per year it's the furthest thing from a bargain.

That the Giants have worse contracts on the books is true, but it's hardly comforting.
   3. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: November 23, 2010 at 07:01 PM (#3696093)
My least favorite Tigers in the history of the universe!
   4. tshipman Posted: November 23, 2010 at 07:12 PM (#3696104)
Good deal.

My preference was to bring Huff back, but to not go crazy on the money or for more than 2 years. This fits that description.
   5. Alex_Lewis Posted: November 23, 2010 at 07:16 PM (#3696109)
That the Giants have worse contracts on the books is true, but it's hardly comforting.


Huff's versatility is what makes this deal. It allows them to call up Belt without significant conflicts. If Belt isn't ready, keep rolling out Huff. If he is, put Huff in right or left.
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: November 23, 2010 at 07:20 PM (#3696112)
I think that's a lot more than he would have gotten in the marketplace but I will invoke the WS championship waiver form on this one.
   7. esseff Posted: November 23, 2010 at 07:22 PM (#3696114)
Actually, it's $10 mil per with a $2 mil option on another $10 million contract for 2013.
   8. wcw Posted: November 23, 2010 at 07:23 PM (#3696116)
A lot more? I think Huff is a real risk to regress, but in two of the last three years, his production has been worth more than this deal's per-year cost, including the third-year buyout.

Of course, in three of the last five, Huff has been worth a lot less.
   9. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: November 23, 2010 at 07:27 PM (#3696119)
Of course, in three of the last five, Huff has been worth a lot less.

I think this is why he'd get less. It's very possible it's not as much as an overpay as I initially thought, but I still think it's an overpay. On the other hand, the Giants need to keep their bats and have the luxury of not having to trawl for pitchers this offseason.
   10.     Hey Gurl Posted: November 23, 2010 at 07:31 PM (#3696128)

Of course, in three of the last five, Huff has been worth a lot less.


And he's a 34 year old 1B/OF. I would be stunned if he winds up being worth half this contract.
   11. Steve Treder Posted: November 23, 2010 at 07:31 PM (#3696129)
Huff's versatility is what makes this deal. It allows them to call up Belt without significant conflicts. If Belt isn't ready, keep rolling out Huff. If he is, put Huff in right or left.

Agreed. Huff isn't a 1B/DH statue.

His offense has bounced around so much the past few years that it makes it harder than normal to anticipate exactly how he'll hit. Most likely he'll be a solid contributor, but not a star.

After winning the WS, the Giants will undoubtedly be raking in a ton of revenue at least through 2011. So they don't need to be as concerned about the cost as they would otherwise.

Bottom line for me: I'm not thrilled, but not really concerned either. Under the circumstances it's probably a reasonable choice.
   12. A triple short of the cycle Posted: November 23, 2010 at 08:23 PM (#3696173)
Another factor at play is that Huff seems extremely popular with teammates, coaches, and fans. Heck I like him, and I don't like the Giants.
   13. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: November 23, 2010 at 08:28 PM (#3696178)
It isn't clear why the Orioles had him DHing so much.

He played quite bit of first base in 2009 before the trade to DET. And he said he didn't like playing the field and he preferred DHing.
   14. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 23, 2010 at 08:45 PM (#3696187)
Huff was superb in 2010 at a bargain price. The huge concern about him coming into the season (along with whether his bat was truly toast) was his defense, but he was more than competent both at first base and in the outfield. It isn't clear why the Orioles had him DHing so much.

The stats support you for 2010, but those numbers aren't consistent with the rest of his career.

That seems like a crazy amount of money to me.
   15. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: November 23, 2010 at 08:49 PM (#3696189)
Another factor at play is that Huff seems extremely popular with teammates, coaches, and fans. Heck I like him, and I don't like the Giants.

He called Baltimore a horseshit town prior to the 2008 season. Of course, all was forgiven after his monster 2008 season but he was loudly booed on opening day. And his explanation of why he doesn't watch any video ("What's there to learn? You see the ball, you hit the ball,") wasn't endearing either. I'm guessing Huff returns to 2009 and 2007 levels of production in 2011.
   16. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 23, 2010 at 08:51 PM (#3696192)
Sure it's an overpay, but he was a vital factor in them winning the World Series. I think it's quite understandable seen in that light.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: November 23, 2010 at 08:51 PM (#3696194)
By Cots, this puts the Giants at $87 M with potential arb for Ross, J Sanchez, Torres and Ramirez, Lopez and Fontenot (who will all be cheap). That should push them to $100+ and that still leaves them presently with some combo of DeRosa, Rowand and Schierholz in LF ... unless I guess if this Belt kid is ready in which case it's Huff in LF? That could work and wouldn't be a huge jump on last year's payroll.

EDIT: Oops, I forgot it's useful to have a SS in today's game. That adds at least a few mill more. Plus if they want KFP to take them seriously, they need somebody to compete with him for the starting job (and be backup IF).
   18. tshipman Posted: November 23, 2010 at 08:55 PM (#3696196)
And his explanation of why he doesn't watch any video ("What's there to learn? You see the ball, you hit the ball,") wasn't endearing either.


Is there a reason why he's wrong? I'm relatively certain that for some guys, watching a ton of video screws them up. For other guys, it's a great benefit.

I'm pretty sure that hitting a baseball on the sweet spot of the bat is a difficult activity that different people approach differently. Huff has a good approach at the plate.
   19. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: November 23, 2010 at 08:59 PM (#3696202)
Is there a reason why he's wrong? I'm relatively certain that for some guys, watching a ton of video screws them up. For other guys, it's a great benefit.

I don't know if that's wrong but it's kind of lazy. But if you can hit without watching video, I'm not going to complain. At the time though, he was coming off a poor 2007 season.
   20. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 23, 2010 at 09:05 PM (#3696206)
I think they way overpaid for a guy that could very well be replacement level the next two seasons. I understand there is the post-World Series honeymoon and all, but teams like the Red Sox and Yanks seem to be able to let guys loose despite WS heroics. Its probably not going to kill the Giants, but you add it with Zito, Rowand, DeRosa...it starts to add up to a lot of dead weight.
   21. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 23, 2010 at 09:09 PM (#3696208)
Who's gonna post the article stating Hamilton won the MVP? I would, but I haven't been able to figure out how.
   22. Alex_Lewis Posted: November 23, 2010 at 09:09 PM (#3696209)
He called Baltimore a horseshit town prior to the 2008 season. Of course, all was forgiven after his monster 2008 season but he was loudly booed on opening day. And his explanation of why he doesn't watch any video


Huff has made a point of saying that he loves San Francisco and couldn't imagine wanting to play anywhere else.
   23. Steve Phillips' Hot Cougar (DrStankus) Posted: November 23, 2010 at 09:43 PM (#3696240)
I'm not sure if Baltimore is a horseshit town, but it is clearly a horseshit baseball organization.
   24. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: November 23, 2010 at 09:47 PM (#3696247)
The Giants have potential holes in LF, RF, and 1B. Cody Ross is arb-eligible and likely will be the RFer, but even if Brandon Belt is ready to play 1B, then who plays LF?

I am much happier with the team bringing back Huff at this price than 1) losing a draft pick and signing Dunn/Konerko/maybe Pena to a more expensive, longer-term deal; 2) bringing back Pat Burrell and hoping Belt is ready at 1B, or playing Ishikawa; 3) playing Rowand.

Edit: 4) signing the Cantus or Wiggintons available for 1B. Sure, I'd love Carl Crawford too, but that's not likely. Belt eases in this year, then maybe Thomas Neal develops for the next.
   25. just plain joe Posted: November 23, 2010 at 09:56 PM (#3696264)
And his explanation of why he doesn't watch any video ("What's there to learn? You see the ball, you hit the ball,") wasn't endearing either.


Wasn't that essentially how Yogi Berra was supposed to have gone about hitting? Granted there really wasn't any video during his career but, I think, the point is to not be up at the plate trying to overthink and instead let one's talent take over. I'm sure that for some hitters watching video of good at bats might help them get out of bad habits at the plate but at some point the batter still has to see the ball and then hit the ball. Like a lot of things in life, you can study hitting all you want but if you don't have the ability to step up and actually do it, all the study in the world won't make you a better hitter.
   26. depletion Posted: November 23, 2010 at 10:13 PM (#3696286)
Too little, too late. He's far too old to play linebacker now.
   27. Steve Treder Posted: November 23, 2010 at 10:15 PM (#3696289)
Huff has made a point of saying that he loves San Francisco and couldn't imagine wanting to play anywhere else.

Well, sh!t, then, the Giants should have said, "Major league minimum, bub. Take it or leave it."

I kid.

You never really know what's actually going on, of course, but all the indications we do have suggest that Huff was great in the SF clubhouse. He seems like kind of a goofy guy who's matured in the past few years.
   28. BumblebeeMan Posted: November 23, 2010 at 10:23 PM (#3696293)
I am much happier with the team bringing back Huff at this price than 1) losing a draft pick and signing Dunn/Konerko/maybe Pena to a more expensive, longer-term deal; 2) bringing back Pat Burrell and hoping Belt is ready at 1B, or playing Ishikawa; 3) playing Rowand.

Edit: 4) signing the Cantus or Wiggintons available for 1B. Sure, I'd love Carl Crawford too, but that's not likely. Belt eases in this year, then maybe Thomas Neal develops for the next.


This is the key point. If the Giants didn't re-sign Huff, then what were the other options? While I'd love for them to sign Crawford, Werth, or Dunn for the right price, landing any of those guys at "the right price" is extremely unlikely. Konerko is a better hitter, but he's 9 months older, likely more expensive, and less versatile defensively than Huff (which is important if/when Belt is brought up). Carlos Pena is an enigma that would probably need to be locked up for a longer term than 2 years and would block Belt if Belt can't make the switch to a corner outfield spot.

The Giants are paying Huff too much money, but they're also in a position to be a contender again this year. If not over-paying Huff means not having him on the team, then that outlook likely changes for next year. Being a playoff team overpaying one its best hitters by $2-3 million dollars per year is much better than not being a playoff team.
   29. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: November 23, 2010 at 10:41 PM (#3696305)
I'm not sure if Baltimore is a horseshit town, but it is clearly a horseshit baseball organization.

So is your mom.
   30. Flynn Posted: November 24, 2010 at 12:21 AM (#3696353)
blah, Sabes overpay.

OTOH, WE WON DA WORLD SERIES! And it's Rally Thong, and there's probably some value in having Huff locked up now early in the FA window than wait for 1B magic chairs to settle itself out and hoping you're not screwed.

If this allows Sabean to be a little more ruthless with the Machine or Adam Dunn or whoever, then it'll probably even out.
   31. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: November 24, 2010 at 12:59 AM (#3696373)
I think they way overpaid for a guy that could very well be replacement level the next two seasons. I understand there is the post-World Series honeymoon and all, but teams like the Red Sox and Yanks seem to be able to let guys loose despite WS heroics. Its probably not going to kill the Giants, but you add it with Zito, Rowand, DeRosa...it starts to add up to a lot of dead weight.

The Giants did tell Renteria to stick it by declining his option. I don't think this contract is a "thank you" gesture in their eyes.
   32. Steve Treder Posted: November 24, 2010 at 01:32 AM (#3696392)
The Giants did tell Renteria to stick it by declining his option. I don't think this contract is a "thank you" gesture in their eyes.

Agreed. Renteria was the freaking World Series MVP, while Huff was all right but hardly great in the postseason, and the Giants said "adios" to Renteria.

The Giants re-signing of Huff isn't about WS euphoria, beyond the extent to which the Giants post-season appearance and success does improve their cash flow for at least the next year or two.
   33. Dan from NM Posted: November 24, 2010 at 06:13 AM (#3696502)
I can understand the skepticism about this deal, but as a Giants fan, here's why I'm OK with it:

1.) Huff's walk rate climbed sharply this year, even while his strikeouts stayed steady. He clearly had a different approach at the plate than in years' past.

2.) Scouty types seemed to think he'd shortened his swing.

3.) Huff lost some weight and really looked decent in the field. I realize he could backslide, but Huff played acceptable defense at several positions this year.

4.) It's only two years. This isn't a long-term contract.
   34. valuearbitrageur Posted: November 24, 2010 at 06:44 AM (#3696514)
1.) Huff's walk rate climbed sharply this year, even while his strikeouts stayed steady. He clearly had a different approach at the plate than in years' past.


Isn't that usually a precursor to collapse for older 1b types?
   35. Flynn Posted: November 24, 2010 at 09:08 AM (#3696558)


Isn't that usually a precursor to collapse for older 1b types?
'

If they're accompanied by an increase in K's. For Huff they weren't.
   36. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: November 24, 2010 at 09:45 AM (#3696569)
Too little, too late. He's far too old to play linebacker now.

Well played.
   37. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: November 24, 2010 at 04:01 PM (#3696651)
Fellow citizens,

Could we please try to come to some sort of grand concord, or at least a quiet and respectful understanding, that it is simply not possible that _every_ contract this offseason will be too much and for too long? And that, perhaps, if that is this site's collective reaction to the vast majority of contracts, then maybe, just maybe, it is us who have both underestimated the amount of money available and overestimated the general quality of minor league players waiting in the wings?
   38. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: November 24, 2010 at 04:14 PM (#3696663)
Could we please try to come to some sort of grand concord, or at least a quiet and respectful understanding, that it is simply not possible that _every_ contract this offseason will be too much and for too long? And that, perhaps, if that is this site's collective reaction to the vast majority of contracts, then maybe, just maybe, it is us who have both underestimated the amount of money available and overestimated the general quality of minor league players waiting in the wings?

I thought the Lilly and Kuroda contracts were all right. Kuroda's seems to be a bargain, actually. Westbrook's seemed a bit much but not too outlandish.
   39. Kirby Kyle Posted: November 24, 2010 at 04:22 PM (#3696668)
This is a good time to revisit the five-year $60M deal that Paul Konerko, slugging first baseman and good guy, got from the White Sox in the afterglow of their 2005 title. Most here, myself included, thought the contract would be a millstone for the Sox. Konerko missed a handful of games in five years and averaged 31 homers, 93 RBI, and a 126 OPS+, wrapping it up with a top-five finish in the latest AL MVP vote.
   40. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 24, 2010 at 04:42 PM (#3696687)
Could we please try to come to some sort of grand concord, or at least a quiet and respectful understanding, that it is simply not possible that _every_ contract this offseason will be too much and for too long? And that, perhaps, if that is this site's collective reaction to the vast majority of contracts, then maybe, just maybe, it is us who have both underestimated the amount of money available and overestimated the general quality of minor league players waiting in the wings?

Yes and no. I agree with your general point -- it's silly to say that 4/$48M for Martinez or 5/$75M (or whatever) for Beltre is an "overpay." That's the market at this point. OTOH, I think the Huff deal is a bit different because he's been so inconsistent over the last few years and so there's a lot more uncertainty. What is the market for Huff? If other teams would have given him a similar deal, we can't fault the Giants. But I have a hard time believing he could have gotten as much from anyone else. As #20 pointed out, there's a decent chance he could be replacement level over the life of this contract. I know that his improvement this year was partly because he was in much better shape, and therefore wasn't random in a sense, but that cuts both ways. What if he doesn't stick to the workout routine this offseason?
   41. Walt Davis Posted: November 24, 2010 at 07:14 PM (#3696821)
Folks keep talking about Pena as if he's going to be expensive. He's coming off years with BAs of 227 and 196. Sure he brings lots of walks and power with that but so what? His monster year was 2007, since then he's had 2.9, 1.8 and 1.1 WAR. His last contract was 3/$24 and I don't see any way he can match that this time around at the age of 33.

Nobody's mentioning LaRoche, isn't he an FA this year?

On Huff, I haven't a clue. I mean 2010 was obviously a fluke -- excellent offense and excellent defense from an average hitter (for his position) and previously poor defense? At least one of those has to give. But we wrote him off too easily on the basis of a terrible 2009, there's no reason he can't be average the next couple of years. Now 2/$22 for an average or even slightly better 1B does seem an overpay in this market (Dunn cost 2/$20 two years ago and he was the "expensive" one) but it's not likely a big deal.

Looking at Huff's rate stats is interesting -- the only thing that was really out of whack with his career numbers was the walk rate.

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