The Detroit press seems to think Aubrey Huff is the perfect left-handed bat to add via trade. I’m assuming Huff would move to the DH spot, as the outfield of Marcus Thames, Curtis Granderson, and Magglio Ordonez seems pretty well set.
Would the Tigers really gain anything by adding Huff? Let’s assume Dmitri Young doesn’t play anymore this year. That still leaves Detroit with 29 year-old outfielder Craig Monroe on the roster. Monroe is pretty much back to game shape after missing some time with a sprained right ankle.
Monroe has hit .228/.271/.405 so far in 215 ABs this year. Among American League left fielders, only Nick Markakis has been worse. However, Monroe should ultimately come closer to his .273/.320/.451 projection. He makes less than $3MM.
Aubrey Huff has been even worse, hitting .200/.294/.303 in 155 ABs after missing about a month with a knee sprain. The lack of power is disturbing. Most people think getting Huff out of Tampa Bay would help him hit closer to his projection of .283/.340/.468.
Certainly, replacing Monroe with Huff would mean simply banking that Huff will play up to his projection and Monroe won’t. The difference between the players is less than one win based on preseason projections. Huff’s got the name value and the $6.75MM salary. Still, it wouldn’t be a terrible gamble if the price is right.
But if the Tigers actually want to pick up a couple of wins by improving their DH spot, they should think bigger than Huff or Jeromy Burnitz. Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, or Pat Burrell would make a measurable difference, handedness be damned. This is a legitimate World Series contender, right? Replacing Monroe with some other second tier player would be much ado about nothing.