Huff hitting, fielding in San Francisco

June 15, 2010 |

The Orioles continued their earth-shatteringly awful season a 10-2 loss in the early morning hours Tuesday. Now is probably not the time to talk about Aubrey Huff. Yet, the faithful few who tuned in to the late night horror show in the Bay Area Monday night saw Huff, sitting in the four spot, with his .302 average, his 10 home runs, his 14 doubles, and his .394 OBP.

Garrett Atkins’ numbers? Prepare yourself. This is NSFW

.216/.276 with 1 home run.

Don’t get me wrong. Huff, no stranger to controversy during his nearly three years here in horse**** Baltimore, had come to the end of an up and down three year tenure here, and as the season ended, it looked like it was time to turn the page for both he and the team.

But then the Orioles went out and signed Garrett Atkins, whose numbers had been on the slide for three seasons, and who was being asked to play first base, a position meant to generate power. The move was particularly perplexing because it came early in the offseason, before the market “played out.”

Aubrey Huff is making $3 million dollars to play in San Fran.

Garrett Atkins is making $4.5 million dollars, mostly to sit on the bench in Baltimore,

AND the Orioles will have to hand him another $500,000 to buy out of his option for 2011.

And while Atkins has been splitting time between first base and the bench, Huff has shown his versatility, vacating first base to make room for hefty Pablo Sandoval. Huff has played third base, left, and even right field.

And so, while the Orioles were forced to sign Corey Patterson off of the scrap heap, Huff has shown that he can still wear an outfielders’ glove.

By all accounts, Huff’s exit from Baltimore was a gracious one. He was traded to Detroit in August of ’09 in exchange for a pile of beans, and he had a number of positive things to say about the team’s young core of players while packing his bags. Were the team looking into an upgrade, or even a younger player with potential to evolve, then closing the door on Huff for good would have made perfect sense. Instead, the Orioles said goodbye to a player who, even in his bad years, hit the ball hard. In exchange, they paid more for a guy on the decline who appears to be unable to see the ball or drive it with any authority on the off chance he gets a hold of one.

Which scout or scouts told the Orioles organization they’d better grab Garrett Atkins early in the hot stove season before some other team takes him away? As the managerial search threatens to continue through the duration of this painful season, it’s time to wonder who, if anyone, is being held accountable in the Orioles front office?

Meanwhile, congratulations to Aubrey Huff, whose San Francisco Giants are 36-27 and a half game out of first in the NL West, no small thanks to the versatility of their hard-hitting, inexpensive cleanup hitter.

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