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 Aubrey Huff News

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PostSubject: Aubrey Huff News   Aubrey Huff News Icon_minitimeMon Aug 17, 2009 8:37 pm

Aubrey Huff News Ph_333492

Tigers acquire infielder Huff from O's
Veteran brings left-hand bat to lineup and versatility in the field

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

08/17/09 6:32 PM ET

DETROIT -- Finally, the Tigers found help at the plate on the trade market. In turn, Aubrey Huff found arguably his best chance to finally get to the postseason.

The Tigers added the bat they've been seeking and arguably needing for most of the summer, acquiring Huff from the Orioles on Monday for Class A right-hander Brett Jacobson. Detroit's second trade acquisition in 2 1/2 weeks will join the Tigers for their next game Tuesday night against the Mariners.

The hope from there is that he can provide a spark for an offense that has struggled to score runs for most of the season, well before a 3-2 extra-innings loss to the Royals on Sunday that included 10 runners left on base. That spark at the plate could be the difference that separates the Tigers from the three-team scrum around the American League Central, a division the Tigers have led since mid-May, but never by more than a handful of games.

Even after the Tigers made a splash at the July 31 nonwaiver Trade Deadline, adding left-handed starting pitcher Jarrod Washburn to their already formidable rotation, the offense was seemingly the big question mark. Once Huff passed through waivers earlier this month, the soon-to-be free agent became the answer, though fitting him into Detroit's lineup becomes the next question.

"For us with Huff, he adds another left-handed bat to our ballclub, a middle-of-the-lineup type hitter," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a conference call Monday. "He's been a quality Major League hitter for an extended period. He brings a good presence to our lineup and adds another good bat to our team. We've worked on trying to get a bat for a while."

That bat has traditionally been better than this year's stats would suggest. The 32-year-old Huff owns a .253 average in 110 games this season for Baltimore, hitting 13 home runs with 72 RBIs.

The RBIs are important, because he's batting .324 with runners in scoring position. That production means something for a club that went 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position on Sunday.

"It's been a tough offensive year for our club," Dombrowski said. "I thought we would score more runs."

Dombrowski called Huff an infielder/outfielder, important semantics for a player who was exclusively a first baseman and designated hitter for the O's this year. His flexibility could be key for the Tigers, who might have to get creative to fit him in the same lineup as Carlos Guillen, who has been limited to DH and first base since coming back from his shoulder injury.

The Tigers hope Guillen can eventually return to left field, where he began the season, but it's far from certain when his shoulder will allow him to do that.

"He really did a tremendous job," Orioles president of baseball operations Larry MacPhail said. "When you think about what he did, he was our Most Valuable Player last year, he went and played a position for us this year and did a good job defensively. He can also play third and, occasionally, you can put him in the outfield if need be."

Dombrowski will leave that creativity up to manager Jim Leyland, but he ran off the list of positions where Huff has played in the past.

"He can play first. Of course, he's not going to play there on a regular basis," Dombrowski said. "He can play third if we decide to rest Inge. He has not played outfield since 2006, but he can play out there, and some people think that's his best position. That's something Jim will decide on a daily basis."

The move will not impact Inge's status, Dombrowski said. Though Inge has been bothered by patella tendinitis in his left knee all summer, he is not headed to the disabled list.

Huff, Dombrowski said, has indicated that he'll be happy to play wherever he can to help a contending team. The move to the Tigers gives him a chance at the postseason, where he has never been in his 10-year Major League career. He barely missed out with the 2006 Astros, his only team to have posted a winning season.

"I've been in last place basically my whole career, so this is an exciting time for me," Huff told reporters Monday in Baltimore. "I'm looking forward to it."

Huff spent 2000-06 with Tampa Bay before going to Houston in July of that year. He signed a three-year contract as a free agent that winter with the Orioles. Despite the lack of team success, Huff owns a .284 average and .818 OPS in 1,282 career games.

"He's always been a good hitter," Dombrowski said. "He's a guy that we tried to acquire numerous times in the past, because good left-handed hitters are hard to find. He's a guy that's a left-handed hitter that's a threat."

Dombrowski said the Tigers were not close to acquiring him last month. After that, it became apparent the price tag dropped once he passed through waivers. Dombrowski said they had shown interest in other players who did clear waivers.

Huff makes $8 million this season. The Tigers will pick up the remainder of his salary, as they're doing with Washburn.

The Tigers' other sacrifice, of course, was Jacobson, part of Detroit's crop of big, hard-throwing relievers from last year's First-Year Player Draft. He went 1-3 with a 3.74 ERA and six saves at Class A Lakeland, striking out 44 batters over 55 1/3 innings. However, the Tigers already have relievers Cody Satterwhite and Robbie Weinhardt at Double-A Erie, plus Scott Green in Lakeland.

"He has a good arm," Dombrowski said. "He's got good stuff. He's done a solid job out of the bullpen. He's not a guy we would like to give up, but considering we're getting a quality middle-of-the-lineup guy, we had to give up something to get him. I think he's got a shot to pitch in the big leagues."

The Tigers don't have to announce a roster move to put Huff on the 25-man roster until Tuesday. Dombrowski confirmed the move will not involve Magglio Ordonez, who struggled mightily early this season but has improved since the All-Star break.

The Tigers will fit Huff onto the 40-man roster by moving reliever Joel Zumaya to the 60-day disabled list. He's scheduled for surgery later this week to correct the stress fracture in his right shoulder.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Last edited by TigersForever on Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Aubrey Huff News   Aubrey Huff News Icon_minitimeMon Aug 17, 2009 9:08 pm

Follow-up on Huff trade
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on August 17, 2009 at 5:34 PM

To go over some quick nuggets from the Huff press conference earlier:

Dombrowski confirmed the Tigers had interest in him for quite a while. However, he said they were not close to getting him prior to the July 31 nonwaiver deadline. It's believed the asking price changed drastically from July to now, from number of prospects to ranking of them.

How is he going to be used? Good question. As I wrote in the article, the Tigers cited his capability to play 1B, 3B and LF. Obviously, he isn't going to be the regular at first or third, and Guillen is currently rooted at DH until and unless he can play 3B or LF. And since they're LH hitters, they're pretty much going to be in the lineup on the same days. Could that leave LF? Wherever he plays, he will be in the lineup a lot, according to Dombrowski.

Where will he hit in the lineup? Not sure. If he hits third, the Tigers can keep going L-R-L-R-L-R through the top two-thirds of their order. Some of that, though, might depend on what position he plays and who he displaces.

The Tigers still have to announce their roster move to make room for Huff on the 25-man roster. However, Dombrowski confirmed, it will NOT involve Magglio Ordonez. With Magglio now less than 90 plate appearances away from having his $18 million contract option vest for next season, it appears the Tigers are willing to keep going with him now that he's producing more than he had. Still obviously not at previous levels, but better than their other options at this point.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Aubrey Huff News   Aubrey Huff News Icon_minitimeMon Aug 17, 2009 9:55 pm

Monday, August 17, 2009
Tigers get left-handed hitter Aubrey Huff from Orioles
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Detroit -- They needed a bat -- and they found a bat.

The Tigers on Monday acquired left-handed hitting Aubrey Huff from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league pitcher Brett Jacobson.

"I expect him to play a lot," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We would not have acquired him if we didn't expect him to be in the lineup a lot. He can swing the bat and he's always been a guy who can drive in runs."

Huff has driven in more than 100 runs three times in his career.

"We're looking for him to help our offense," Dombrowski said. "It's been a tough offensive year for our club."

Huff was hitting .253 with 13 home runs and 72 RBIs for the Orioles this year while splitting time at first base and designated hitter. However, as recently as last year, he played third base -- and has started more at third than at any other defensive position.

So he'll be able to help out at that position whenever Brandon Inge needs a game off because of his sore left knee

"He can play third," said Dombrowski, "but we did not do this with the thought of putting Inge on the disabled list. We don't think Brandon will have to go on the disabled list."

The Tigers also are not releasing Magglio Ordonez as the reciprocal roster move they'll make Tuesday, despite the fact Ordonez is only 80 plate appearances away from his $18 million contract option for next year kicking in.

"We're not doing that," Dombrowski said. "Magglio will be here, with us, tomorrow."

Huff, 32, is coming off one of his best years as a hitter. In 2008, he hit .304 with 32 home runs and 108 RBIs. He can be a free agent at the end of this season, however, so he could end up as a rental player.

But not an inexpensive one.

The Tigers are taking on an additional $2 million by adding him to the roster -- approximately a fourth of his $8 million contract. In return they hope he provides production and versatility.

When asked if Huff could see playing time as an outfielder, Dombrowski said, "the ability to go out there helps. We think he can be solid out there."

Jacobson, 22, was 1-3 with a 3.74 and six saves at Class A Lakeland. He was a fourth-round pick by the Tigers in 2008.

"We like him, but the deepest spot in our organization is bullpen help," Dombrowski said. "He had a good arm, good stuff, and has a chance to pitch in the big leagues.

"He wasn't a guy we wanted to give up, but to get a quality hitter, you have to give up something. Within reason, we're trying to do anything we possibly can to win."


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Aubrey Huff News   Aubrey Huff News Icon_minitimeMon Aug 17, 2009 10:42 pm

bet ya did not know Huff has a great singing voice!

tribute to aubrey huff
song sung by him