Andrew Baggarly has already written two separate articles about the Giants’ moves from today, so I’ll let him take it from here. First, the obvious move to buy out the third year of Aubrey Huff’s deal for $2 million:
Aubrey Huff is taking his Rally Thong to the cleaners.
In a move that all parties anticipated, the Giants declined a $10 million option on Huff for 2013, instead choosing a $2 million buyout that amounts to a parting gift between the club and the steeply declining first baseman.
And so ends the Giants’ retroactive payment for Huff’s spectacular 2010, when he finished seventh in the MVP voting and led the franchise to its first World Series championship since moving to San Francisco.
The Giants might not look back fondly at Huff’s production or even his actions after signing that two-year deal in the aftermath of the parade where he wore a red thong around his neck. However, even though Huff looked glum during yesterday’s parade there’s a definite “no harm, no foul” feeling about the whole thing.
The Giants didn’t feel that Brandon Belt was ready heading into 2011, and they were right. Huff was one of the most feared hitters in the National League in 2010, so even with a sizable decline the Giants had to figure that he’d be an above average offensive first baseman. They were wrong.
However, there’s something nice about how they never gave up on Huff, even when he was coming off a completely unnecessary DL stint. He picked up some key hits and walks over the latter part of the season, when Giants fans cheered him as if every at-bat was his last. He didn’t contribute much during the postseason, but he was there to celebrate a championship. Huff also helped Brett Pill pour into that spandex cheetah suit, so his clubhouse presence simply cannot be denied.
In all, he will be remembered as a good Giant and be welcomed back to AT&T Park whenever he feels like returning.
No more Pagan?
We all knew Huff was a goner and probably retiring. The news that popped up earlier in the afternoon had to do with qualifying offers to free agents. Or, in the Giants’ case, a lack therof.
Again, from Baggs:
The Giants do not plan to make a qualifying offer to any of their free agents by the 2 p.m. deadline on Friday, which means they would not receive draft pick compensation in the event Angel Pagan or Jeremy Affeldt signs with another club.
But the Giants remain interested in re-signing both players — and Marco Scutaro, too.Only players who receive a qualifying offer – determined by the league and union to be a one-year salary of $13.3 million – and sign elsewhere would garner their former club a compensatory draft pick at the end of the first round.
The system replaces the old and very much flawed “Type A” and “Type B” designation that the league and union had used in the past to determine draft compensation.
Of the Giants’ nine free agents, only Pagan appeared to be a candidate to receive a qualifying offer. Although he might not find a contract with an average annual value of $13.3 million on the open market, he’s expected to draw multiple-year overtures from several teams and would be unlikely to accept a one-year deal.
For more on qualifying offers for free agents, check out this breakdown from MLB Trade Rumors.
The fact that the Giants didn’t make an offer to Pagan doesn’t mean they won’t re-sign him eventually. But with so many things in play it’s impossible to determine the likelihood of a potential return to San Francisco.
- Buyers looking for outfielders won’t have much to choose from in free agency.
- The Giants’ 2013 outfield situation is especially murky (which is why many fans would’ve been thrilled had the Giants made Pagan a qualifying offer).
- Pagan is 31, he has a ring and there’s no reason for him to look for anything less than the longest, most lucrative contract possible.
- After a triple-tastic season where he hit .288 and hit leadoff for a championship team, he’ll get some pretty generous offers from other Major League teams.
- The Giants will want Scutaro back, and probably Affeldt as well.
- Hunter Pence is almost certainly returning, and he’ll be making eight figures per year.
- There’s a temptation to sign Buster Posey to an extension that would take him through his arbitration years and beyond.
According to Baggarly, “GM Brian Sabean has expressed interest in re-signing Pagan as well, although club officials are less confident about their ability to do so.” So it definitely isn’t a lock that Pagan will be in the leadoff spot for San Francisco on Opening Day, 2013.
Back at the end of July, I was convinced that the Giants would re-sign Melky Cabrera and say goodbye to Pagan. While athletically gifted, Pagan’s defense in center was uneven, he seemed to miss more than his fair share of signs, and he argued a little too much with home plate umpires. He was also very streaky, and coming into August he had gone 7 for his last 41. Then Pagan started a ridiculous hot streak on Aug. 3, Cabrera got suspended on Aug. 15, and Pagan kept hitting and running as well as anyone in the league through the night the Giants clinched the NL West.
After the mistake they made with Huff, I predicted during our last BASGcast that the Giants would be a lot more cautious about overpaying for past glory. It will be interesting to see whether they consider making a market offer to Pagan in the coming days to be an overpayment.