Aubrey Huff Rumors
Recently MLBTR spoke to several MLB executives to gather their nominations for the best and worst moves of the offseason.
Free agent signings that received mention for the best moves: Felipe Lopez, Adrian Beltre, Adam LaRoche, Chone Figgins, Hideki Matsui, and Aroldis Chapman. Said one exec on Chapman: "He might truly live up to the hype." It's hard not to praise the Cards for getting Lopez on a one-year, $1MM deal.
Three trades came up as choices for the best moves of the offseason: the Mariners' acquisition of Cliff Lee, the Royals' trade of Mark Teahen, and the Rangers' trade of Kevin Millwood. One exec noted that the Mariners "didn't trade anyone that can hurt them in the next couple of years" for Lee, while another believed that "trading Lee and Kyle Drabek in the Roy Halladay deal will hurt [the Phillies] in the long run." The Royals received props for "getting some value for Teahen," while the Rangers' increased payroll flexibility from the Millwood deal was noted.
Nominated for the worst moves: free agent deals for Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, Brandon Lyon, Jason Kendall, Aubrey Huff, Jason Marquis, Randy Wolf, and Garrett Atkins. All the execs polled mentioned Holliday's seven year, $120MM deal when choosing their worst deals of the winter. Said one: "The fear that he would sign a one-year deal elsewhere and take his chances a year from now — that just doesn't make sense to me."
Aside from Kendall and Huff, there was a vibe of "like the player, hate the contract" with the panned free agent signings. One exec felt the Royals downgraded behind the plate with Kendall. Huff was nominated as a small-scale misstep, in that the exec felt that "Hank Blalock is better and he couldn't get half that salary on a non-roster deal."
Thursday night linkage...
- The Tigers could be in play for Johnny Damon, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. The 36-year-old has a .961 OPS at pitcher-friendly Comerica Park.
- The White Sox formally announced today that they have invited fifteen players to Spring Training - ten of which from within the organization. Outfielder Jordan Danks, younger brother of John Danks, is one of the more notable invitees.
- Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com takes a look at the Indians' bullpen in 2010. It should come as no surprise that Kerry Wood and his hefty contract are unlikely to be moved. Wood is set to earn $10.5MM in 2010 with a vesting option for $11MM in 2011 if he finishes 55 games.
The Giants officially signed first baseman Aubrey Huff to a one-year, $3MM deal today. The deal was first reported Sunday by Dennis O'Donnell of CBS5 in San Francisco.
Huff split his time between first base and DH last year. Though he has played hundreds of major league games at third, he figures to play first for the Giants. Pablo Sandoval, Mark DeRosa and Juan Uribe are all in the mix for time at the corner infield positions, so Bruce Bochy will have lots of options.
Huff, 33, hit .241/.310/.384 in 2009. He will presumably pick up some at bats from Travis Ishikawa, who is seven years younger than Huff and plays better defense. Ishikawa hit .261/.329/.387 last year in 113 games at first base, so he was more productive than Huff at the plate, too.
As MLBTR's Mike Axisa points out on River Ave. Blues, the move appears to lessen the chances that Johnny Damon ends up in San Francisco. The Braves and Yankees could still be fits for Damon, but the Yanks' interest likely depends on Damon's willingness to lower his demands. This also limits the market for Adam LaRoche; the Mets and Orioles have openings at first, but few other teams do.
Links for Tuesday...
- Talking to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, Rays manager Joe Maddon indicated he'd like to bring in additional players to compete at second base and in the bullpen.
- Derek Lowe told David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the Braves' failed attempt to trade him is now an "absolute non-issue."
- According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, MLB and the players' union expressed concern that the Marlins "have not been spending proceeds from revenue sharing on payroll as required in the Basic Agreement." Look for a slight payroll increase in 2010, and a much bigger one in 2012 when the new ballpark opens.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer passes along Aroldis Chapman contract details from the AP. There are scenarios where Chapman can choose to go to arbitration if he's eligible after the 2012 or 2013 seasons. Meanwhile, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon chronicles the Reds' involvement on Chapman dating back to March.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Mariners have thought about Jonny Gomes this winter, though he's no longer a great fit.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets/passes along an XX 1090 appearance by Padres GM Jed Hoyer. Hoyer said he has offers out to three free agents.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy says Mark Mulder's sit-down with the Brewers is scheduled for Thursday. A minor league agreement is possible.
- Jack Moore of FanGraphs says Aubrey Huff is not an upgrade for the Giants.
What's that you say? You want more news? You're just in time:
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane has entered into negotiations to sell the team. McLane says he's in no hurry to sell the team, but has entered into an exclusive 30-day negiotiating window with an unnamed New York investment banking company.
- According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the 2010 Pirates should use this as their motto: "Pirates baseball: Where unwanted relief pitchers seek employment."
- MLB.com's Chris Haft says that with the signing of Aubrey Huff, the Giants are likely finished making improvements to their roster.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck addresses the idea of Joel Zumaya as closer. The questions around Zumaya in that role are a big reason why Detroit is linked to free agent Jose Valverde, of course.
Links for Monday...
- Press release: Greg Maddux has joined the Cubs as an assistant to GM Jim Hendry. He'll work with the coaching staffs as well as baseball operations. Click here for the official story.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Diamondbacks' interest in Jose Valverde has cooled. The Tigers made an offer, the magnitude of which is unknown.
- Morosi says the Indians are not engaged in trade talks for Jhonny Peralta.
- ESPN's Keith Law praises the Reds for adding a pitcher with huge upside in Aroldis Chapman. He also points out that MLB's current draft setup "screws American-born players."
- David Coleman of The Crawfish Boxes says the Astros drew a line when they designated Julio Lugo for assignment in '03 following domestic violence charges, making their Brett Myers signing seem hypocritical.
- Free agent lefty Doug Davis is interested in joining the Nationals, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson, but Davis was told the Nats are more focused on adding a second baseman. Davis acknowledged, "Things are kind of going slow for me because I'm fifth or sixth down the line [when it comes to] starting pitching."
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times talks about the Mariners' need to sign Felix Hernandez long-term before the season begins.
- Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles evaluates the Giants' Aubrey Huff signing.
- MLB.com's Doug Miller discusses new defensive stats with experts and team officials.
A pair of former Oriole bats are still looking for somewhere to sign, and Baltimore has shown no interest in bringing back either Melvin Mora or Aubrey Huff, according to Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Here are some more Baltimore-centric tidbits from their piece:
- The O's may not be interested in Mora, but we heard earlier in the week that a few other clubs are. Mora confirms that several teams have been in touch with his agent, including the Rockies, Cardinals, and Angels.
- The Orioles are still looking to add a corner infielder. Although they've had discussions with Miguel Tejada's representation, "a reunion remains unlikely."
- The club would prefer to play Garrett Atkins at first base, rather than at third. The greater number of affordable first basemen left on the market, however, may force their hand.
- A handful of teams, including Baltimore, have extended minor league contract offers to Rich Hill, but the lefty has yet to make a decision.
Some links to start off your weekend...
- Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe says the Red Sox are just doing their due diligence by touching base with John Lackey's agent, reminding us that they also spoke to CC Sabathia's and A.J. Burnett's representatives last offseason.
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier breaks down Joe Urbon's pitch for his client, free agent outfielder Jason Bay.
- Hideki Matsui acknowledged that he'd be disappointed if he didn't return to the Yankees, according to Anthony McCarron of The NY Daily News. Godzilla says that his agent Arn Tellem is taking care of the situation, but he doesn't think the two sides have had any discussions yet.
- ESPN's Rob Neyer says that Jack Wilson's defense is definitely worth the $10MM the Mariners gave him yesterday.
- Steve Slowinski at DRays Bay goes back and evaluates the deal that brought Mitch Talbot and Ben Zobrist to Tampa in exchange for Aubrey Huff.
- Edgardo Alfonzo still thinks he could be valuable utility player and has two or three years of baseball left, according to The NY Post's Kevin Kernan. The 36-year-old hasn't played in the big leagues since 2006.
Steve Kornacki of MLive.com has plenty of material from Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski for us this morning, but it's all spread out among several articles. We're here to make things easy for you, so let's round 'em up...
- Dombrowski indicated that no player on his team is untouchable, but "there are some on our club that we want to hold on to." He also added that there was more trade talk at the GM meetings this year than in previous years.
- The team obviously wants to keep Justin Verlander around for a long time, but Dombrowski wouldn't comment about the possibility of locking him up to a long-term deal. "I won't get into that because that is best kept internal," he said. Verlander can become a free agent after the 2011 season.
- Dombrowksi acknowledged that the team is "looking to be fiscally responsible," citing economic changes in the community.
- The Tigers called both Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff this week to let them to know the team won't be pursuing them. We first heard the team won't attempt the re-sign the two a little over a week ago.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck reports that the team has had contact with the agents for Fernando Rodney, Brandon Lyon, Placido Polanco, and Adam Everett, but the talks were believed to be just preliminary.
The 2009 Elias Rankings have been released, and Ed Price of AOL FanHouse has a full list of the Type-A and B free agents.
- Chone Figgins qualifies as a Type-A, not a Type-B as projected.
- Vladimir Guerrero qualifies as a Type-B, not a Type-A as projected.
- Gregg Zaun goes from no compensation to Type-B.
- Jerry Hairston Jr. goes from Type-B to no compensation.
- Hideki Matsui goes from Type-B to no compensation.
- Aubrey Huff goes from Type-B to no compensation.
If you're not sure how free agent compensation works, or if you just forgot, make sure you check out our primer.