Aubrey Huff Rumors

Giants Notes: Sandoval, Huff, Uribe, Burrell, Crawford

It's been less than a week since the Giants were crowned World Champions, but GM Brian Sabean has already started to act on his offseason agenda. Here's the latest from San Francisco, courtesy of Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News

  • Sabean was very explicit in saying that Pablo Sandoval will be sent to the minors next year if he doesn't improve his conditioning. Kung Fu Panda will spend the winter with fitness and nutrition experts in San Diego before reporting to Spring Training a month early. He will have benchmarks to meet this offseason.
  • Sabean has reached out to the agents for Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe, and although he acknowledged that both players are priorities, he couldn't commit to bringing them back. The market could play out very favorably for those two.
  • The team is currently discussing Pat Burrell internally, who would be brought back in a reserve role if anything. Remember that the Giants will have Mark DeRosa and his righty bat back from injury next season.
  • Sabean's priority is to get more left-handed, and when asked about Carl Crawford, he responded "We'll see. That's the best answer I can give you."
  • Sabean also said that he's still upset about being portrayed as a suitor for CC Sabathia two offseasons ago, claiming he never met with the player or his representatives. "[W]e do not want to be somebody’s fallback or stalking horse to be used as leverage," said the game's longest-tenured GM.
  • Baggarly doesn't think the Giants will be serious players for Jayson Werth, and their desire to get more athletic could take them out of Adam Dunn sweepstakes.
  • The team's payroll is expected to eclipse the $100MM mark for the first time, and Sabean wouldn't commit to offering arbitration to all eight of his eligible players. He is interested in bringing them all back, however.
  • It almost goes without saying, but Sabean is hopeful that the World Series victory will make San Francisco a more desirable landing spot for free agents. 

“Pretty Good Chance” Huff Remains In San Francisco

Aubrey Huff and the Giants probably won't agree on an extension before the team's exclusive negotiating period with free agents ends on Sunday, but Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that there is "mutual interest" between both sides in Huff returning in 2011.

The one-year, $3MM contract that Huff signed with San Francisco last January was roundly criticized, but in the wake of his .891 OPS and his key role in the Giants' World Series title, it's safe to say that Huff and Brian Sabean had the last laugh.  Huff will be looking for a much bigger salary in his new deal, though since he's turning 34 in December, the Giants probably aren't interested in anything longer than a three-year pact at most.  There's also the presence of first base prospect Brandon Belt to consider; the 2009 amateur draft fifth-rounder advanced all the way to Triple-A in his first professional season, posting a 1.075 OPS at high A ball, Double-A and Triple-A Fresno.

Baggarly notes that Huff is looking for new representation.  This is the second time this year that Huff has changed agents, as he moved to SFX's Mark Pieper from ACES in August.  Baggarly says that Huff could also represent himself, which would likely mean "a quicker resolution" to an extension.

Odds & Ends: Huff, Marlins, Sampson, D’Backs

Links for Thursday, exactly ten years after the Angels signed Ervin Santana as an amateur free agent…

  • Aubrey Huff is enjoying his time in San Francisco, writes Chris Haft of  Huff, who signed a one-year, $3MM deal with the Giants in the offseason, will be a free agent at season's end.
  • The Marlins still consider Bobby Valentine a candidate for their managerial opening and Valentine didn't rule out the possibility of re-starting talks with the team, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). 
  • The Astros announced that they removed Chris Sampson from their 40-man roster. He has three days to accept a minor league assignment or opt for free agency. Sampson told's Brian McTaggart that he realizes his time with the Astros is likely over.
  • The Mariners say they knew little about Josh Lueke's history with the law when they acquired the pitching prospect in the Cliff Lee trade, but both the Rangers and former Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair have different versions of the story, as Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times explains.
  • Unsure where your team is going to pick in next year's draft? Check out our reverse standings page, which we link to under 'Features' on the right side of the page.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the D’Backs plan to speak to De Jon Watson, the Dodgers assistant GM for player development, about their permanent GM job. Also in the running, some familiar names: Jerry Dipoto, D’Backs assistant GM Peter Woodfork, Kevin Towers, Damon Oppenheimer and Logan White.
  • Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic believes Chien-Ming Wang, who signed for $2MM plus incentives, is a better comparable for Brandon Webb than Rich Harden, Tim Hudson, or the other pitchers his agent compared him to
  • Chone Figgins told Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that he doesn't regret signing in Seattle.
  • Rookie pitcher Hisanori Takahashi can become a free agent after the season, as David Waldstein of the New York Times reports. He and the Mets haven't started negotiating an extension, but there's mutual interest in one.

Odds & Ends: Aramis, Podsednik, Huff, Hawpe

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Giants Won’t Discuss Huff Extension During Season

Aubrey Huff has "earned consideration" for a new contract, Brian Sabean told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (Twitter link). However, Sabean added that the Giants won't discuss Huff's potential future in San Francisco until after the season.

The 33-year-old has been one of baseball's best bargains, hitting .294/.380/.548 with 17 home runs while earning $3MM on a one-year contract. With Pablo Sandoval posting a career-low .710 OPS so far, Huff has assumed the role of the team's top middle-of-the-order bat. Still, Sabean says the team won't negotiate contract extensions for any player during the season, Huff included, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).

Sabean also told Schulman that, although the Giants' GM has explored possible deals with 20 teams, Huff is unlikely to be a trade chip this year. As Schulman tweets, the Giants would like Huff to return in 2011, so they'd be reluctant to move him to another club even if they slipped out of playoff contention before the trade deadline.

Aubrey Huff Wants To Stay In San Francisco

Aubrey Huff told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he “would love” to return to the Giants in 2011. But the 33-year-old knows the Giants will have to be interested if he is to return when his one-year $3MM contract expires after the season

“I'd love to be back,” Huff said. “But it's up to the front office. I've just got to go out and play my game and see what happens."

Huff, who is 15 pounds lighter this season, has impressed the Giants with his batting and flexibility, according to Shea.  He has played first base, left field and right field, posting a .311/.401/.549 line in the process. That kind of production would interest a number of teams, so if the Giants want to bring Huff back as much as he wants to return, they will probably have to give him a raise.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Aubrey Huff

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.

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