Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Aubrey Huff’s Contract: The thinking mans guide

Well the Giants have resigned Aubrey Huff and word on the twitter is that it is a 2 year $22 million deal with a club option. That is a pretty big raise from last season so what does all of this mean?

Well my first impression is that the Giants have some cash on hand that they are willing and able to dole out (thank you playoffs and merchandise sales) this deal plus arbitration raises will put them comfortably above the $100 million dollar threshold for the first time in team history.

My second impression is that interest in Huff was much stronger than last season where he had to wait around until January for a deal and now he is one of the first free agents off of the board.

So what does it mean for the future? That's a good question that I will attempt to answer.

The first question which season was the abnormality 2009 or 2010 or both? In 2009 Huff looked washed up and ready to hang up the spikes, in 2010 he was a near elite baseball player looking like he was in his prime.

The truth most likely lies somewhere in between, in his 10 big league seasons he has averaged 1.9 wins above replacement with a high of 5.7 this year and a low negative 1.4 in 2009. He has averaged above average production with the bat and slightly below average with the glove to be a roughly league average player.

Now this next contract pays him like an above average player for the Giants to break even he will need to average about 2.75 wins above replacement I think that is possible but it leaves very little room for upside gain.

I think that most seasons this is what you will get with Huff, if he puts up numbers around his career average he will give a team 2.5 to 3 wins, I just don't know how often a career year like last season comes along and there is the risk that with winning comes complacency and that he won't have the same chip on his shoulder that he had last winter as teams passed on him.

Then there is also the Brandon Belt question looming. My general thought is that it is better to have too many major league caliber players then too few. So if Belt proves to be ready they both have flexibility to play of corner outfield spot and it gives the Giants depth. The other possibility is that one of them could be used as a trade chip should a more glaring hole appear. I am not too concerned with blocking Belt as that is a problem worth having.

Overall I am pleased with Huff coming back, I wish it was on sale being the holidays and all but paying full retail for something you really want isn't too bad and the commitment isn't a killer either.

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