Is Aubrey Huff Becoming the Next Aaron Rowand?
By Melissa Felkins
I think it’s time to talk about it. I’m sure it’s been talked about before, but it’s really time right now. Is Aubrey Huff becoming the next Aaron Rowand, Miguel Tejada, Barry Zito, etc… ?
Right now, we’re all emotional after that tough loss in New York today. But let’s look at some facts first. Huff is hitting .207 this season. He is 4 for 23 in his last 10 games. He hasn’t had any official errors this season, but after watching today’s game, not to mention a few other games this season, his glove has not been great. There were some ball that went below his glove today that he should have had. I’m purposely not giving him crap right now about the fiasco at 2nd base. I’m sure Bryan will cover that mess in his recap and since he’d never played the position before, all I will say is that Bochy had no business putting him there.
But alas, it’s early in the season you say. Did you forget about last season? He hit .246 last season. In fact, I would say that despite the lower batting average, he’s probably slightly better so far this season than last season. This is not the Aubrey Huff of the 2010 World Champion Giants.
But let’s forget about how good or bad he’s playing this season. Is he slowing becoming the scapegoat for everything wrong with the Giants this season? We heard the moans the last two year about Aaron Rowand. He makes too much money and contributes too little. That was the general consensus. He was pretty much benched and sat a lot. Occasionally, he came through for us, but more often than not, we were left with yet another disappointment. Same story with Miguel Tejada. Both of those players were cut in the middle of last season and fans rejoined. Are we there yet with Huff?
I don’t think so. Maybe the difference is that Huff has made some contributions in San Francisco. He was a key part of that World Series team. Also, Huff plays nearly every day. Every day, he’s given yet another chance or four, to disappoint us. He’s not good, but is he really, really bad? Maybe, I’m not sure yet.
I think what blurs this argument is that Huff is very clearly keeping fans from what they want so much. More playing time for Brandon Belt. Belt hasn’t had a decent opportunity and he’s kept on a very short leash by Bruce Bochy. Fans are livid about it too. #FreeBelt hashtags dominates the feed among Giants fan on Twitter. Every time Huff is given one more chance over Belt, and every time he fails at it, Belt fans get even more upset. Truthfully, I don’t know if Belt is really ready, but that’s kind of the point — We don’t know because he hasn’t had a whole lot of consistency in the lineup to work through his issues. He is looking better, but being a pinch hitter off the bench or playing once a week if he’s lucky is not teaching us anything about Belt, or Belt anything about Big League pitching. At this point, he couldn’t do much worse than Huff. Brett Pill couldn’t either. Yet, Huff plays, day in and day out. It will be interesting to see if he’s sitting on the bench tomorrow or back out there at 1B, LF or 2B (I’ll give up if I ever see this again). Tomorrow will tell us if Bochy is just sticking to his guns because he wants to, or if he legitimately wants to give Belt a shot.
So, I don’t think Huff is at the Rowand level yet, and I really hope he never gets there, because I like Huff. But, I think if Giants management (looking at you Brian Sabean and your public comments) continue to mishandle Belt, and even Pill, and play a poorly hitting, poorly defending, and aging Huff over these guys, he’s (Huff) on the fast track to become “that guy,” fair to him or not. I believe that he worked hard in the off season, and him getting playing time over Belt is not his fault, but it is causing him to lose his fan base.
We have to blame someone for our woes, unfortunately, it seems to be falling on Huff now that Barry Zito is pitching so very unlike, well, Barry Zito. I trust the Skipper, but he seems to be running out of reasons to keep Huff in the lineup.
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