Don't look now, but Albert Pujols, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez and Joey Votto are the only National Leaguers with a higher OPS than Aubrey Huff. A few months ago, the Huff signing was mentioned as one of the worst moves of the winter by MLB executives who spoke to Tim Dierkes. After all, Huff finished the 2009 season with a lower batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage than the player he was hired to replace, Travis Ishikawa. Not only that, Huff is seven years older than the slick-fielding Ishikawa and cost the Giants $3MM.
At the time, it seemed like a deal the Giants didn't have to make. Now, it's hard to imagine where they'd be without Huff, who is hitting .307/.399/.550 with 12 homers. If this performance came out of nowhere, it would seem fluky, but Huff did hit 32 homers with a .912 OPS just two years ago. His current batting average on balls in play and home run to fly ball ratio are in line with the ones he has posted in his best seasons, so it doesn't seem like he's on the brink of regressing.
Huff's improved batting will undoubtedly help his case when he hits free agency again after the season. His versatile play won't hurt, either. He started the season at first base, but has been playing in left and right since Buster Posey arrived in the majors.
Still, it's hard to imagine teams offering Huff multi-year deals. He turns 34 this December and other sluggers like David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Pena, Troy Glaus and Adam Dunn could be available this winter. But if Huff keeps hitting like this, he could more than double his salary on a one-year deal for 2011.