Let me begin by saying that I have always been a fan of Brian Cashman and I think he’s one of the better general managers in major league baseball. This sentiment was further solidified this morning when the San Francisco Giants officially signed first baseman Aubrey Huff to a one-year, $3 million contract.
After only 115 at-bats,the Giants non-tendered first baseman Ryan Garko. This came only five months after trading Scott Barnes, one of their better pitching prospects, to acquire Garko from the Cleveland Indians.
It really seemed like General Manager Brian Sabean decided to replace Garko with Travis Ishikawa, who was a superior defender and would likely save the club some money. As we all know, that’s not how it worked out. Sabean instead replaced Garko with a 33 year-old veteran coming off a horrible year making three times as much money. Let’s just take a second to compare both Huff and Garko:
Huff 2009: .241 AVG – 15 HR – 59 RBI – .694 OPS
Garko 2009: .279 AVG – 13 HR – 51 RBI – .765 OPS
Huff has six seasons on Garko, and thus better career numbers, but the 33 year-old has been inconsistent since 2005. Also, the only other argument in Huff’s favor is that the Giants needed a left-handed bat, but that could have been achieved by signing Russell Branyan instead of Mark DeRosa to play left field. That would have saved a ton of money, which could have been used to strengthen the bullpen.
The moral of the story? Be thankful that Brian Cashman is the Yankees’ GM.