The Roller Coaster of Aubrey Huff
Aubrey Huff was rewarded with a 2-year, $22 million deal after finishing 7th in the NL MVP voting in 2010 and leading the Giants to a World Series championship. He was solid but not spectacular across the board, ripping 35 doubles, 26 homeruns, and driving in 86 runs while posting a .290/.385/.506 line. The 2011 season hasn’t been so kind. Huff has played some outfield and may need to make room for Brandon Belt, but he will be forced to if the now 34-year-old doesn’t break out of his .236/.290/.361 funk. The Giants should have checked Huff’s track record to see that this was going to happen.
Huff was an All-Star caliber player from 2002 to 2004, averaging 33 doubles, 29 homers, and 90 RBI for the then-lowly Devil Rays. He was a light in the world of darkness that faced the early struggles of the franchise. Huff then began a trend in 2005 that has carried over up to this season, though, 2005 was a solid season overall, his slash line took a hit when compared to his three-year breakout. Aubrey Huff is an All-Star in even-numbered years and a dud in odd-numbered years. Take a look:
2005: .261/.321/.428, .749 OPS, 26 2B, 22 HR, 92 RBI
2006: .267/.344/.469, .813 OPS, 25 2B, 21 HR, 66 RBI
2007: .280/.337/.442, .779 OPS, 34 2B, 15 HR, 72 RBI
2008: .304/.360/.552, .912 OPS, 48 2B, 32 HR, 108 RBI
2009: .241/.310/.384, .694 OPS, 30 2B, 15 HR, 85 RBI
2010: .290/.385/.506, .891 OPS, 35 2B, 26 HR, 86 RBI
2011: .236/.290/.361, .651 OPS, 16 2B, 8 HR, 44 RBI through 335 AB
As you can see from the statistics above, Huff has managed to stay productive in his “down years,” driving in an average of 83 runs in 2005, 2007, and 2009. However, his OPS has been drastically lower this season, as well as in 2009 than his even-numbered seasons. Huff could lose his job this season based on his “down” production and the presence of Brandon Belt, but he could dominate again in 2012. What happens then? The Giants hold a club option for 2013 for $10 million with a $2 million buyout. Aubrey “Even Year” Huff just isn’t worth that type of commitment in an odd year season. Maybe he breaks out of the funk and he can get some MVP votes, as he has three times in his career. Chances are, he is a superstar again next season, if he plays every day.