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Orioles Sign Aubrey Huff, Plus Some Tangents

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As Zogger notes in the diaries, the Orioles have signed Aubrey Huff to a three-year, $20 million deal. This might be a defensible move for a team close to contention, but the Orioles aren't. In fact, they're sort of like the Pirates if the Pirates had money. They throw cash at every mediocre player out there, whether they make sense for Baltimore or not. Huff is yet another uninspiring acquisition for them.

The Pirates have been looking for a left-handed power hitter and Huff is left-handed and kind of a power hitter, so this move shrinks their options further, increasing the chances that the Pirates' "Lefty McThump" will either be a completely hideous free agent or will be acquired in a trade. However, given that they've been unable to consummate a trade so far (and given that they seem unwilling to part with freaking Chris Duffy in a trade for Adam LaRoche), I'm betting a deal for an actual good player isn't going to get done, and we'll be stuck with Trot Nixon or someone even worse than that.

This is a tangent, but: Seriously, is there any good reason to refuse to toss in Duffy in a trade for anyone who would be able to help in 2008? Andrew McCutchen will probably have made Duffy a bench player by then, and even if McCutchen doesn't come along as we hope he will, Duffy simply cannot be a core player for the Pirates. LaRoche, on the other hand, would become one immediately.

Another tangent: If you didn't yet click on the link two paragraphs above, you need to. If Jim Tracy doesn't want to be seen as the "complete moron" some think he is, he really needs to stop acting like it. There are so many gems here:

"For us to fill a void and create a hole in the rotation ... you just can't do that. Also, you have to look around baseball at what people are paying -- maybe overpaying -- for pitching right now. And we're going to give that up? Can't do that."

Yeah, if other people are willing to overpay for pitching, how could we ever trade pitching?

On payroll:

"Do you just spend it because it's there to spend? If you don't like the situation, just put it in your pocket. I think it sends a good message, that we're dedicated to the players we have, that we're only going to bring someone in if it makes sense within this group."

There's nothing exactly wrong with this quote, but I'm mildly amazed at how insensitive it is. The Pirates' owners have been not liking the situation  and putting it in their pocket for years and years, and everyone knows that. It would obviously be bad for the Pirates to spend money just to spend it, but it most certainly does not send a good message for them to do so, and Tracy has a lot of gall to claim otherwise.

On whether the Pirates could wring a fifth starter from a stone made of Youman, McLeary and Chacon:

"Absolutely. And I'll tell you one thing: Youman showed me something. I'm very impressed with this kid."

Wow.

By the way, the Pirates' 2007 ZiPS projections are up. ZiPS sees Ronny Paulino taking a step backward and Freddy Sanchez taking a flying leap backward, which I agree seems likely, and nobody except Nate McLouth getting a whole lot better. Basically, as Pat says, the offense is going to be ridiculously bad. ZiPS probably suggests that the the pitching is going to take a small step forward - it predicts fine seasons for Zach Duke and Tom Gorzelanny, plus decent years for Ian Snell and Paul Maholm. Still, that's not going to make up for the hideous hitting, and anyway the Bucs still have no good starting pitching depth at all, so they're in serious trouble if/when one of their top four starters gets hurt. Like Bucdaddy says, the Win Meter stays at 67.