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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Astros - Acquired Huff

Houston Astros - Acquired 3B-OF Aubrey Huff from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for SS Ben Zobrist and P Mitch Talbot.

And finally, after two years of non-stop Huff trade rumors, the Rays finally pull the trigger.  Huff’s merely an above-average overall outfielder, but the Astros are still in a “win-now” mode, which is perfectly acceptable in a very weak league when you’ve just lured Clemens out of retirement yet again.  And there’s no doubt Huff’s an upgrade, even as a non-star, thanks to the Astros’ frequent outfield of Preston Wilson (up to 282/322/424 with godawful defense), Willy Taveras (253/307/308 with OK defense), and Jason Lane (205/330/393 with terrible defense).  Berkman and Lamb have been moved all over the place in order to try to get some of these awful players out of the lineup at varying times and Huff will improve this situation.

Zobrist’s hit well in the minors, but he was 23 when he was drafted and his nice AA season (327/434/473) isn’t quite as exciting when you consider the fact he’s 25.  He does appear to be adequate at short, but even if the stereotype has been weakened over the last 20 years, 6’3” shortstops that are adequate don’t generally stay at short unless the hit like Ripken or A-Rod.  Talbot’s still young (22) and has displayed a nice curve and changeup since being drafted in the 2nd round in 2002.  Through the system, he’s kind of been just “there,” pitching well enough to be promoted every year.  Talbot’s having a nice 2006 season, however - he’s not only made the big jump to AA successfully, but he’s also upped his K rate by 50% and halved the gopher balls.  The Rays aren’t going to be grabbing many Kazmirs, but the system has not been very good at developing the #3/#4 rotation guys needed to take the next step forward.  Enough guys like Talbot and the previously acquired J.P. Howell and they might finally have a couple.  If the Rays have Kazmir, Seo, and one or two of the Talbot/Howell/Waechter/Shields group pan out and add a #2 guy from free agency and suddenly, the team’s looking a lot like it can take advantage of their young offense.

Dan Szymborski Posted: July 12, 2006 at 03:18 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Mister High Standards Posted: July 12, 2006 at 04:39 PM (#2096795)
One of my favorite players Chris Burke has actually been playing a lot more CF the last month or so. I expect he will get a lot of time in CF going forward. At least my hope if that he keeps playing 5 days a week.
   2. keglermike Posted: July 12, 2006 at 05:38 PM (#2096864)
I had the privilege of watching Talbot pitch a game against Arkansas recently; he looked very impressive to me that night (double digit strikeouts, including Brandon Wood three times). I think this is a good acquisiton for Tampa Bay - they got more than enough for Huff.
   3. zonk Posted: July 12, 2006 at 05:49 PM (#2096882)
I suppose it's as much as Huff will fetch... but looks like the Rays should sold earlier - the swag being tossed about in a potential Huff team seemed much more substantial 12-18 months - to the tune of 'elite swag'.

I'm wondering my roto team should bid on Huff... The Astros seem to have pretty remarkable luck with their deadline acquistions - Vinny Castilla being halfway useful for half a season, Carlos Beltran's resurgence... I'm looking for big numbers from Aubrey. With $98 left for the years FAAB - how high would you go (considering I also desparately need offense)? All the way up to 90?
   4. "Catching Dianetics" by Dr. L. Ron Karkovice Posted: July 12, 2006 at 05:49 PM (#2096883)
he looked very impressive to me that night (double digit strikeouts, including Brandon Wood three times)

I have a 55 mph heater and I could strike out Brandon Wood 3 times in a game (of course his other 3 at bats would be 550 Home Runs!)
   5. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:04 PM (#2097076)
With $98 left for the years FAAB - how high would you go (considering I also desparately need offense)? All the way up to 90?


Depends what the other teams have left to bid.
   6. S. Ransom Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:13 PM (#2097087)
Judging by some of the negative comments Huff has made to the press, Huff has been very, very unhappy for at least a couple of years now in Tampa Bay. It's possible that a change of scenery might give him one of the remarkable resurgences that players who leave Tampa Bay sometimes have. I wouldn't bet against it.
   7. buddy34 Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:19 PM (#2097090)
astros should like huff, at least the rest of this year. he's always been a 2nd half player, and he's raised his average 100 points in less than a month.
   8. S. Ransom Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:20 PM (#2097091)
With $98 left for the years FAAB - how high would you go (considering I also desparately need offense)? All the way up to 90?

For the last few years Huff's been a 2nd half hitter, and he's really heat up this past month. 90 sounds like a lot for him, but 80 wouldn't.
   9. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:26 PM (#2097095)
One of my favorite players Chris Burke has actually been playing a lot more CF the last month or so. I expect he will get a lot of time in CF going forward. At least my hope if that he keeps playing 5 days a week.

I haven't been very impressed on his D out there. What's your take?

Huff has been very, very unhappy for at least a couple of years now in Tampa Bay.

Huff is a less than highly mobile slugger on a team that appears to prize speed and tools (at least under Lamar). I wonder if he was constantly getting negative feedback because of his deficiencies in these areas.
   10. zonk Posted: July 12, 2006 at 11:54 PM (#2097168)
Depends what the other teams have left to bid.

Most teams (12 team NL-only, 5X5 roto scoring) have ~$70 left. A few of the sharper owners have rolls stashed (2 teams at 99). I figured all along I'd be blowing my FAAB wad on a single deadline stud - I'm really trying decide if this is going to be the best bat to switch leagues (leading all pitching categories but 1, so arms don't really interest me, beyond blocking or picking up a trading chit of my own).

I foresee a pretty quiet deadline this year - at least, so far as big names. Unless Baltimore recognizes that they're really this mediocre - Huff sure seems like he's going to be the biggest name, unless Beane moves Zito.

Of the potential AL sellers out there - and admittedly, July is virtually the only month I watch or pay attention to much AL ball - no one seems to really have anything of greater offensive interest than Huff (sanity of whatever replaced Beatagan aside). Huff was the best the D-Rays had to offer. KC- puhleaze... I don't see the Indians would realistically be looking to move any of their youngish bats. Minny? Shannon Stewart maybe? Does Minnesota fancy itself still in it?
   11. Jeremy B. Posted: July 13, 2006 at 12:45 AM (#2097188)
Of the potential AL sellers out there - and admittedly, July is virtually the only month I watch or pay attention to much AL ball - no one seems to really have anything of greater offensive interest than Huff (sanity of whatever replaced Beatagan aside). Huff was the best the D-Rays had to offer.

From a roto standpoint, I'd think Lugo would be more valuable than Huff, thanks to those SBs. Of course, Huff's already in the NL, while there's no guarantee that Lugo will join him.
   12. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:05 AM (#2097237)
I guess it's worth taking the gamble on Huff, assuming you can insert him into your lineup easily enough.
   13. PooNani Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:12 AM (#2097243)
I've watched Huff play OF before and the last thing i thought was "above-average" unless that statement is purely offense-wise.

He's got a hilarious arm too
   14. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 13, 2006 at 04:02 AM (#2097290)
Above-average is not referring to Huff's defense at any position except DH. He's not really Ed Sprague/Dean Palmer bad at 3rd, but he's not good and he tends to look like a doofus.
   15. Ardo Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:01 PM (#2097468)
The Astros helped themselves at minimal cost. Good job.
   16. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: July 13, 2006 at 03:28 PM (#2097518)
I have a 55 mph heater and I could strike out Brandon Wood 3 times in a game (of course his other 3 at bats would be 550 Home Runs!)

Brandon Wood is good, but it's hard to hit 183 home runs in one at-bat.
   17. zonk Posted: July 13, 2006 at 06:00 PM (#2097676)
I guess it's worth taking the gamble on Huff, assuming you can insert him into your lineup easily enough.

Heh... I'm starting David Bell, Afredo Amezega, Yorvit Torrealba, Jeff DaVannon, and Corey Hart at positions I could slide Huff into - so yeah, I think I can get him in the lineup.
   18. Green Red Brownell Posted: July 13, 2006 at 10:09 PM (#2098028)
But, Dan... whaddya think about this trade if Huff plays a bunch of 3B, like the Astros GM has said he will?? Purpura basically said "We don't owe Ensberg a job; we have to move on" in the quote that I saw on RotoWorld. That still leaves the 'Stros with a pretty woeful OF. Or do you think it is just media fluff, and they're hoping Ensberg steps it up?
   19. Sparkles Peterson Posted: July 13, 2006 at 10:45 PM (#2098057)
Ensberg has a .390 OBP and a .500 SLG. Why exactly are the Astros blaming their offensive woes on him?
   20. Jack of Arcades Posted: July 13, 2006 at 11:22 PM (#2098088)
Because he had a bad June, in which he still managed an OBP (.351) higher than Aubrey Huff's OBP this year (.348). Uh, yeah.
   21. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 14, 2006 at 03:08 AM (#2098393)
Ben Zobrist got into tonight's Durham game in the eighth inning. In his first AAA plate appearance, he came up with the bases loaded and two outs against Columbus closer Jose Veras, who had already blown a 4-3 lead and was trailing 5-4. Veras made him look sick on a 94-MPH heater, but then Zobrist went down to get a 2-2 slider low and away and lifted it over the 2B's head for a 2-run single. Nice piece of hitting.

-- MWE
   22. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: July 14, 2006 at 03:19 AM (#2098422)
Mike, how did Steve White look?
   23. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 14, 2006 at 02:47 PM (#2098743)
Mike, how did Steve White look?


Good, not great. Low 90s heat (topped at 92), but too much movement on his breaking stuff - he couldn't get it over consistently, and Nieves was battling it all night. He ran out of gas in the 6th after throwing 90 pitches.

The MILB.com game log is wrong; the final score was 7-4 Durham. After Zobrist's 8th-inning single, the log shows Wes Bankston stealing home. That is NOT what happened; Zobrist took second on defensive indifference, with Bankston remaining at third. Today's morning paper has the correct score - but still has Bankston credited with the SB.

-- MWE
   24. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 18, 2006 at 04:03 PM (#2103356)
Zobrist update:

He was 2-4 last night in Durham's 4-0 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and is hitting .333 in five AAA games.

It seems to me that what he tries to do is hit everything back through the middle of the diamond. I've seen three of his games so far, and he's turned on a ball exactly once. As you might expect from his walk rates, he does work the strike zone a lot; I have yet to see him swing before taking at least one strike. Defensively, he looks a lot better than I expected so far, showing a good arm; he's made one somewhat difficult play.

A couple of his hits have been loopers over the infield; there was one ball last night which was actually more of a popup and could have been caught, but Danny Sandoval wasn't quite able to get back on it because he was jockeying to keep a runner close at 2B. He doesn't appear to be trying to generate a whole lot of power, but he does get the bat on the ball most of the time. I honestly don't know how well that will play in the majors.

B.J. Upton, by the way, has looked very good at 3B so far.

-- MWE

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