- FanGraphs Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs -

Huff Returns to The Beanstalk

Three weeks ago, I wrote that the Giants needed to avoid overcompensating the free agents from their World Series team. Today, they re-signed Aubrey Huff for two years and $22 million (with a club option for a third year). Although the Contract Crowdsourcing series had Huff valued two years, $16 million, did the Giants do well in what (seems) to be an inflated market?

Huff’s recent career arc is a weird one. His win values over the last four years (starting with 2010): 5.7, -1.4, 4.0, and 0.7. In more generic labels, his last four seasons have represented those of an elite player, a below replacement level player, a star, and a below average player. All that volatility despite ridiculously consistent plate appearance numbers (668, 597, 661, and 603) is unheard of. A 5-4-3 weighing has Huff at three wins; factor in aging (among other variables) and he should be good for somewhere between two and three wins.

In a deflated market, one where a win costs four million or so, Huff playing to the lower end of that projected rate would not be worth an annual average salary of $11 million. In this market, though, where the cost of a win might be closer to five million, such an occurrence is plausible. Admittedly, the best part of the deal – speaking purely from a worst-case scenario perspective – is the relatively short length. (The option clause for a third year is a nice touch, too). The salary prevents it from being a failsafe deal, but for a free agent coming off a five-win season that’s a more worthwhile concession than too many years.

All and all, this seems like a reasonable contract for both parties. Huff gets some security and cash, but not enough of either to make Sabean appear hungover from the celebration.