Monday, March 28, 2005

HR Huff-nstuf

Read this and weep?
Earlier this week, Tampa Bay turned down the Washington Nationals' offer of TERRMEL SLEDGE and NICK JOHNSON for AUBREY HUFF, mainly because Rays manager LOU PINIELLA is begging management not to deal Huff. But if they can get offense somewhere else, such as JAY GIBBONS from Baltimore or an outfielder from the Mets in exchange for Baez or other relievers, Huff could become more available. Huff appeals to both Atlanta and Texas, which are looking for outfield (and in Texas' case, DH) bats. Those two teams are possible destinations for available Cincinnati outfielder WILY MO PENA, though the Reds also have been talking about a Pena deal with the Devil Rays, too. And it's possible that the Reds, in spite of their glut of outfielders, will hesitate before moving Pena. After all, it's hard to count on KEN GRIFFEY JR. being healthy for an entire season.

First, how does one copyedit that without resorting to taking notes. It makes my head hurt.

Or maybe it's the trade idea that's making my head hurt. I'm not sure. Terrmel Sledge AND Nick Johnson for Aubrey "Big Girl" Huff. Hmmm.

On the plus side you're getting Aubrey Huff. And that's not bad. He's on the right side of 30 and will come cheaply -- $4.75MM and $6.75 MM over the next two years. Huff had a down year last year, but still mashed .297/ .360/ .493 with 29 home runs. The previous year, he crushed 34 homers with 47 doubles, while batting .311. He doesn't walk much, nor does he strike out a ton for someone with as much power as he has.

He played about half his games at 3B last year, which is more a reflection on the Stink Rays' needs than his actual abilities at the position. He's been jerked around the field a lot, but here, he'd settle into his natural position, first base.

On the downside, you're trading Terrmel Sledge AND Nick Johnson! Sledge, despite not having much experience is not especially young (This will be his age-28 season.) And, truth be told, he's not especially good. He's useful in a pinch, and won't hurt the team, but he's not an all-star-type player like Huff is. (And Huff's a legitimate All-Star, not one of those Rickey Bones, Doug Jones Affirmative Action kinda all-stars)

Trading NJ is what really makes me unsure about this deal. Nick's value is at a nadir. His long track record of injury, combined with only moderate effectiveness when he has been healthy means he's lost much of the luster he had four years ago. If he stays healthy and puts up the kind of numbers he's capable of putting up, then he'll have a lot more value at the trading deadline or in the offseason. But, it's not like he'd be traded for chaff in thise case.

Given all the competition for Huff's services contained in that densly-packed paragraph, there's a pretty good chances that this speculation is for naught.

But, I like the idea of this trade. Huff's young, would instantly become our best hitter, and will come cheaply for the next year or so. He's living up to the kind of potential that Nick Johnson has. We'd be taking the sure thing over the potential.

Plus, that would enable the Nats to use JJ Davis and Alex Escobar as the fourth and fifth outfielders instead of the fifth and sixth, as they're penciled in now. It's an efficient use of the depth of this club.

The more I think about this, the more I like it!

3 Comments:

  • Aubry "Big Girl" Huff? I like it!

    Or perhaps I should say:

    After reading today's entry, BASIL TSIMPRIS got a tremendous kick out of the characterization of AUBREY "BIG GIRL" HUFF, which was a product of CHRIS NEEDHAM, who runs the web log CAPITOL PUNISHMENT on the INTERNET.

    Seriously, for some reason I'm always hesitant to do two-fer-ones; I guess I'm just a bet-hedger at heart. Nevertheless, the likelihood of Terrmel Sledge turning into Garret Anderson (2002-present version) is pretty slim, and Nick Johnson has lost most of his juice as trade value, I think. Plus, Huff---as you note---is good, pretty young, pretty cheap, and, I'll add, could spell Castilla for a pinch at 3B, thus rendering Baerga completely useless unless you're a Lenny Harris groupie.

    By Blogger Basil, at 3/28/2005 2:24 PM  

  • I could get behind this trade. I'm not convinced, at this point, that Nick Johnson is ever going to put together a full season without getting hurt again.

    Sledge is, at best, a fourth outfielder on a good team. He's a useful part, but pretty replaceable.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 3/28/2005 2:25 PM  

  • If the Tampa Bay front office is smart, they'll listen to Piniella. Aubrey Huff is an amazing, versatile player. With his low price tag, he's a wet dream for both fantasy and actual GMs.

    As much as I love The Sledge, that love's got a lot more to do with what his name suggests than what he actually does. NJ's proven himself to continually be The Marquee First Baseman of the Future much in the same way that Brasilia is the Latin American Model City of the Future.

    Man, do I love Aubrey Huff. I hope we get him.

    By Blogger Angry Sam, at 3/29/2005 9:08 AM  

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