Thursday, July 13, 2006

Getting Huff-y with the 'Stros

Let's hope this is some good news for the Houston Astros:
HOUSTON (AP) - The Houston Astros acquired third baseman Aubrey Huff from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for two minor league prospects Wednesday, hoping Huff can help revive the Astros' struggling offense. [snip]

"This will give us an offense boost which we sorely need," Astros general manager Tim Purpura said.

The 30-year-old Huff, who went to high school and junior college in Texas, hit .283 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs in 63 games for the Devil Rays this season. He has been the subject of trade speculation each of the past three years.

In his sixth major league season, Huff has a career average of .287 with 128 home runs and 449 RBIs.
The 2005 National League champions have struggled the first half of this season, with an offense that has not even been able to keep up with the lackluster performance of the slumping pitching staff. In spite of that, the Astros are actually in a slightly better position following the All-Star break than they were at this point last year, trailing the St. Louis Cardinals by only six games. Astros management hopes that adding Huff to the equation will give the team a boost as they aim for a repeat of last year's performance. Unfortunately, not everyone will be happy about the trade, as adjustments will be necessary to move the new bat into the rotation.
To make room for Huff, Houston will send outfielder Jason Lane to Triple-A Round Rock. Lane has struggled in the Astros lineup, batting only .205 this season.

Purpura said Huff's arrival could also affect third baseman Morgan Ensberg, who has also struggled at the plate. Besides third base, Huff has also played first base and the outfield.

"Obviously it will cut into (Ensberg's) playing time," he said. "We're in a position where we have to start moving forward. We can't give bats to players because they have been in that spot before. We have to get production and performance out of our players."
"We can't give bats to players [just] because they have been in that spot before." Wow, you never expect to find such words of wisdom coming from the sports arena. Sometimes I wish politics were a little more like baseball. I know of a few old-timers that have been allowed to "play the game out" just because they have held that spot for so long, even though they are way past their prime and their usefulness. (And all too often working from the wrong playbook, as well.)

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