Is Aubrey Huff the Reason the Baltimore Orioles Should Avoid Mark Teixeira?

Lawrence BarrecaAnalyst IAugust 31, 2008

Many Baltimore Orioles fans, including myself, have come to the conclusion that the O's should attempt to pay Mark Teixeira a load of cash for him to play for his hometown team.

This was thought to be the case, due to the O's desperate need of a power bat in a feeble lineup. That was until Aubrey Huff began his unbelievable run.

Let's look back to last season, when the O's acquired Huff as a free agent after he had just had an average season with the Rays and Astros. He hit .280, with 15 homers, 72 RBI, and had one stolen base. 

Fast forward to this year. He is currently hitting .309, with 30 homers, 98 RBI, and has three stolen bases. Wow, what a difference one year can make. Aubrey Huff is now having his best year since 2003, when he hit for a .311 average, 34 homers, and 107 RBI. 

Since we are only at the end of August, we have to believe that Huff will hit 35+ homers and 110+ RBI before year's end. So now that brings up the question: Why do some people believe that Aubrey Huff is the answer to our Tex problems?

Here is a blog from Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun:

Could the worm have turned any more dramatically than it has for Aubrey Huff, who hit his 30th home run yesterday and now has 98 RBI. This is the guy you all loved to hate coming into Spring Training. This is the guy who was so overpaid there was no way to get rid of him after he dissed Baltimore on the air with shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge.

Yeah, that guy.

So, now I'm hearing people use Huff as the reason the Orioles don't need to pursue slugger Mark Teixeira in the free-agent market this coming offseason. Now, some of the same people who thought Huff was the most overpaid guy since Jay Gibbons are talking about what a bargain he'll be next year at $8 million.

That might be true, but today is the deadline for traded players to be eligible for the postseason, and you'd think there would be some interest in a hitter who is a good game away today from entering September with 30 homers and 100 RBI.

Is Huff the answer to our Mark Teixeira problems? I say no. But hold on one second. This just brings up a new solution. With Huff proving that he still has plenty of pop in his bat, not to mention he can rack up the key hits, then why do we need Tex exactly.

Why don't we try someone else.

Let's look at a list of free agent first basemen.  This list is updated as of Aug. 8, 2008:

First basemen
Rich Aurilia (37)
Hank Blalock (28) - $6.2MM club option for '09 with a $0.25MM buyout
Sean Casey (34)
Tony Clark (37)
Carlos Delgado (37) - $12MM club option for '09 with a $4MM buyout (unlikely to vest)
Nomar Garciaparra (35)
Jason Giambi (38) - $22MM club option for '09 with a $5MM buyout
Wes Helms (33) - $3.75MM club option for '09 with a $0.75MM buyout
Eric Hinske (31)
Doug Mientkiewicz (35)
Kevin Millar (37)
Richie Sexson (34)
Mark Teixeira (29)
Daryle Ward (34)


Now, who on this list seems intriguing? Maybe Hank Blalock, only problem with him is that he is terribly injury-prone. Eric Hinske? He provides a solid bat that could hit behind Huff as the No. 6 hitter. He is also versatile, being able to also play left and right field. Nomar Garciaparra? To me, he is getting old.

So what do I take from this? If we can grab another hitter, a hitter from any position, then I say that we do not need to get Tex. Huff has proven to me that he is still a force in any lineup and could easily be the O's No. 4 hitter behind Markakis and in front of Matt Weiters. 

On another note, Melvin Mora is also having a resurging year, making him a solid No. 7 hitter. Now, whom can we place at No. 6.

From that list, I would like Blalock. Why? Simple. Playing the "hot corner" in Texas couldn't aid his health. Maybe him taking over first base will allow him to stay healthy for a full season for a change.

That's not my decision, though. I guess all of us fans will just have to wait and see what the front office wants to do about this. 

I just have to say one thing: Please don't trade Huff, then I'll be happy.


All stats as of Aug. 31, 2008.


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