Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday Baseball Post 2

Now, for the Giants.

See, I've been a bit obsessed with the Giants amazingly awful streak of years with sub-100 OPS+ 1B.  (That is, a first baseman who couldn't manage to hit as well as a league-average hitter).  And, when the Giants were last week hinting that they would go with a four-MI starting lineup (with Uribe starting at 3B, and DeRosa in LF), well, the saving grace of it was that at least with Sandoval at 1B, the streak would end.

And now the Giants went out and signed Aubrey Huff.  It's not exactly a stupid move...well, I'll start with the good.  Replacing a MI (Uribe) with a 1B (Huff) is almost always going to give you more offense.  Huff is not especially old, and had a very nice year in 2008.  One way to look at it is that Sabean is buying cheap, taking advantage of Huff's disaster of a 2009 to get him at a cheap, one year deal.  As Joe Sheehan often says, you really can't hurt the team with one year contracts. 

The bad?  Aurbrey Huff's 2009 may have been an outlier on the down side, but his 2008 was almost certainly an outlier on the up side.  Basically, after a very nice peak at ages 25-27, Huff has only seen the good side of 110 OPS+ once in the last five years.  2009?  He managed only a 310 OBP/384 SLG line, which is sort of nice if you field SS like Ozzie Smith, and play in the Astrodome.  In 1966.  So it wasn't just bad, it was Worthy Of Giants 1Bs.  So the two most likely possibilities is that either he's finished, in which case he'll probably eat up 250 awful PAs and get replaced by the usual suspects (Bowker, Ishikawa, Uribe, and 2010 versions thereof), or he'll have a big comeback and hit something like 340/450, which for a 1B is still not at all good.

All in all, if you ask me if the Giants are a better team after signing Aubrey Huff than they were before, I would probably have to say the odds are yes, but not overwhelmingly so.  If they're better with Huff than they would be with $3M I knew they were going to spend on some other FA, it's a close call.  If they're better with Huff than with the chance that they might sign someone better (for more)?  I'd rather have that, please.

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