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Huff traded to Astros (Merged)

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Postby McBain » Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:00 pm

StudentOfTheGame wrote:Minute Maid is a great ball park for right handed hitters...They have that short porch in left field. However, the dimensions down the line in RIGHT are about the same as Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay.



I'm not sure that it is as simple as that. Look at his hitting charts:

Tropicana (2005)
http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/stats/ind ... statType=1

Compare to Minutemaid (not available, but shows park dimensions)




The short porch at the Trop only extends a short distance, but it is the entire length of left field at MM. Also, Huff hit most of his HRs to straight away RF in the Trop, but he scattered a lot of doubles around, so he clearly isn't a straight pull hitter. The Trop is deeper in straight away RF, while MM is deeper in center field. I could see Huff getting more doubles and a few more HRs at MM.
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Postby davidmarver » Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:08 pm

If I was a D-Ray fan I'd be pretty excited about this trade. Granted, you lose Huff, but you grab two decent prospects while opening up roster space for Delmon and/or Upton. It also shows a difference in philosophy in the front office; seems like they may finally be ready to let the youngsters play.

Talbot (22, AA) - 90.1 IP, 6-4, 3.39 ERA, 96 K.
Zobrist (25, AA) - 315 AB, .327 AVG, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 57 Runs, 9 SB, .907 OPS.
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Postby dundeeslugger » Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:10 pm

I don't think it will hurt Ensberg all that much as Huff is a liability at 3rd so he will probably play more OF and 1st then 3rd.
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Postby hybrid » Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:04 pm

The biggest news occuring from this trade ... BJ Upton is moving to 3rd base now. Freidman just said it on the radio over on 620, so no link at the moment.
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Postby Krunk City King$ » Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:10 pm

Huff bound for Houston
Astros acquire slugger to bolster offense

07/12/2006 2:48 PM ET
By Kevin Yanik / MLB.com

Aubrey Huff's .453 Interleague Play average this season was the second-best mark in the Majors.

HOUSTON -- Let the wheeling and dealing begin.
The Astros acquired outfielder Aubrey Huff and cash from the Devil Rays on Wednesday in exchange for right-hander Mitch Talbot and infielder Ben Zobrist, two Minor League prospects.

In addition, the Astros optioned outfielder Jason Lane to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Huff on the big-league club. They also designated Minor League infielder Joe McEwing for assignment to create a spot for Huff on the 40-man roster.

"Huff brings our club a solid veteran professional hitter, something we've been looking for for quite some time," general manager Tim Purpura said. [He's] somebody we think can really inject some offense into our lineup."


Huff, a 29-year-old left-handed batter, was a regular in the middle of a young Devil Rays lineup. He was batting .283 (65-for-230) with eight home runs, 15 doubles and 28 RBIs in 63 games this season.

Huff was even better this season against the National League, hitting .453 (29-for-64) in Interleague Play -- the second-best mark in the Majors.

Yet the most attractive part of Huff's game is his versatility. He's capable of playing the outfield and first base, though he's played 60 of his 63 games at third this season.

"I think he'll fit in well with [manager] Phil [Garner]," Purpura said, "because Phil likes to be creative, he likes to change things around, he likes to move guys around position-wise. I think we'll probably put him in a couple of different spots and see what works best for us."

Manager Phil Garner could work Huff around the Astros lineup, as well, to see where he fits best. The No. 5 slot behind Lance Berkman is one possibility, Garner said on Wednesday, although Huff batted cleanup 42 times with the Rays. He was also penciled in at least once from third through the seventh slot.

"He's a middle-of-the-order hitter," Purpura said. "He's a run producer, he's a power guy, he's a very proficient hitter."


Huff's been hot lately, too. He batted .359 (33-for-92) with three home runs and 13 RBIs in June. He's been even better this month with a .389 (14-for-36) mark and three homers in nine games.

Over his six-year career, Huff has hit better in the second half (.303 average, 71 homers, 239 RBIs) than the first (.273, 57, 210).

"His last two, three weeks, he's been on fire, and he's a very typical second-half hitter," Purpura said. "That's one of the attractive things we looked at. Year after year, his second halves are strikingly better than his first halves, so this is good timing for us to acquire him."

Huff is expected to be in the lineup on Thursday night when the Astros take on the Marlins at Dolphins Stadium.

So whose spot in the lineup will Huff be occupying?

Maybe third baseman Morgan Ensberg's.


"It's something we have to talk to Morgan about," Purpura said. "Obviously, [Huff's] going to cut into his playing time. The thing with Morgan is he hasn't admitted to having a lot of shoulder problems. He hurt his shoulder; I don't know if that's still affecting him."

Huff could see significant playing time in right field, where Lane played 67 games. But Lane, 28, struggled at the plate in the first half, batting a career-low .205 with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs.

He'll try to work out the kinks at Round Rock.

"Certainly, Jason is disappointed by it," Purpura said, "but I think he understands that we had to make a move to improve our ballclub. Our hope is to get Jason Lane back and get him squared away offensively, give him a chance to improve his skills defensively in center field and get him back to the big leagues."

The big-league payroll rose about $1.4 million with this trade. Now, it stands close to $106 million, the highest payroll in the National League and the third-highest in the Majors behind only the Yankees and Red Sox.

"Unbelievable numbers," Purpura said.

Talbot and Zobrist were putting up solid numbers at Double-A Corpus Christi. Talbot, a 22-year-old right-hander selected in the second round of the June 2002 First-Year Player Draft, was 6-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 17 starts this season for the Hooks. He ranked seventh in the Texas League in ERA and third with 96 strikeouts.

Zobrist, a sixth-round selection in the '04, ranked second in the league in batting with a .327 average. He's been an All-Star in each of his professional seasons, including this year when he played in the Texas League All-Star Game in June.

Still, Purpura pulled off this trade without giving up a proven big-league talent.

"We were able to do this without taking a piece off that will help us," he said. "You're not changing 10 faces, you're changing two or three."

The bullpen could be seeing changes next.

"We're open to ideas," Purpura said. "There have been a few things that we've talked about. Absolutely, we have to get [closer] Brad [Lidge] straightened out. That's going to be a major source of conversation as to where do we go from here."


Kevin Yanik is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/arti ... p&c_id=mlb
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Postby SimbaPenn » Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:13 pm

dundeeslugger wrote:I don't think it will hurt Ensberg all that much as Huff is a liability at 3rd so he will probably play more OF and 1st then 3rd.


I seem to remember the Yankees broadcasters saying that Huff hadn't made an error at 3rd in something like 48 games. Of course, then he promptly made an error. So far he's got the 3rd best fielding percentage of all 3rd basemen. Ensberg is 16th (.980 vs. .956)
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Postby deerayfan072 » Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:21 pm

i like this move for the Rays. Hunsincker was the stro's GM, he knows what guys have high ceilings and who is going to be good, i trust him to help the rays out.
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Postby echrisl » Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:44 pm

converge241 wrote:tough for ensberg owners who didnt sell high on him before with word of huff getting time at 3B


Tell me about it ... I was in the process of negotiating a trade to move Ensberg exactly where I wanted him, off my team. Until I saw this thread, I was wondering why my reasonable (at least it was yesterday) counter-offer was rejected.

Needless to say, I've lost all leverage and will probably be stuck with Ensberg eating up a roster spot for the forseeable future, or at least until it becomes clear that he's droppable. Oh how I wish I'd just pulled the trigger last night.

Guess I'll just have to cross my fingers and hope Ensberg can find his stroke and keep Huff out of the 3B spot in the Houston line-up.
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:41 pm

I take one day off from baseball and what happens?! My 3B gets shipped to the NL. :-°
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:43 pm

What does this do to the value of Lugo and Crawford and the expectations of Cantu?
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