If I had a blog back then, I would have written about it. If I had a Twitter account, I would have (groan) tweeted about it. Three hot stove leagues ago, Aubrey Huff was a free agent who fell through the cracks for weeks after a solid career with the Tampa Bay D-Rays and Houston Astros, and the Giants needed a hitter (sound familiar?). I wondered aloud to anyone who’d listen why the Giants didn’t seem to be interested in Huff, he of the strangely memorable name and oddly undervalued power stroke.
At the end of December 2006 (or the beginning of January, 2007, depending on what internet database you believe), Huff went to the American League’s orange and black, the Orioles, for 3 years and $20 million. The Giants spent their cash that off-season on Bengie Molina (good), Ryan Klesko (painful for many reasons, but not a horrible signing), Dave Roberts (a move that would have led to every other GM in baseball getting fired, in all probability) and Barry Zito (uh, ditto).
The fact that Sabean waited until a player’s skills started to diminish before calling his agent isn’t that surprising, what is surprising is that the player in question today was Huff instead of Jermaine Dye, another player in the prime of his career that the Giants could have signed at a reasonable rate (back in 2005, the Giants shunned Dye in order to sign their manager’s son Moises Alou, another player the Giants should have gone after about 3-5 years before they did).
It’s smart for the Giants to focus on players they can sign to 1-year contracts, and the commitment necessary for Huff’s bat made a lot more sense than giving Andy LaRoche $18-20M over the next two seasons.
So with that said, I think we can look ahead to next year’s free agent class and figure out the top 10 senior citizens experienced, gritty gamers the Giants will go after. “Ages” during the 2011 season in parentheses.
1. Lance Berkman (35)
2. Aramis Ramirez (33)
3. Eric Byrnes (35)
4. Andruw Jones (34…yeah, right)
5. Magglio Ordonez (37)
6. Freddy Garcia (35)
7. Ted Lilly (35)
8. Kevin Millwood (36)
9. Troy Glaus (34)
10. Jose Guillen (35)
Good news: Pablo Sandoval is tearing it up in Venezuela, and says his weight is “down” to 260 lbs. I love this quote:
“After the games I used to stop at a McDonald’s or a Burger King to eat fast food, which was a mistake,” he said. “Now, I try to eat some fruit, a salad, chicken, vegetables. I learned to eat better to improve my future.”
It’s a lesson we all have to learn sometime. Notice Pablo didn’t mention In ‘N Out. He may be dieting, but the Panda ain’t crazy.