The Big Five with … Giants 1B Aubrey Huff

4 Comments

SAN FRANCISCO — Parade around the clubhouse in a victory thong, and the fact that you led the National League champions in homers, RBI, runs, slugging percentage and OPS can get lost in the shuffle. That’s Aubrey Huff’s fate these days, and he couldn’t be happier. He answers The Big 5 here:

So if Giants fans wear fake beards for Brian Wilson, long-haired wigs for Tim Lincecum and panda hats for Pablo Sandoval, what’s the  fitting tribute for you?

Through a slightly embarrassed smirk: “Wilson has been here his whole career, and he’s such a warrior out there; fans have grown to him. Timmy is the face of the franchise. This is my first year here; I’m just trying to fit in with these morons. I had to go over the top. I’m pretty tame compared to these guys. We’ve got a lot of characters. It’s strange to say, but the weirder you are, it seems the more you win.”

On playing in the post-season, and the pressure involved: “I’ve always been a guy who’s played the game kinda loose, not a lot of nerves. But I gotta tell you, there have been some nerves. Especially in Game 6 in Philly. That was probably the most-nervous I’ve been playing a baseball game.”

On growing up in Fort Worth as a Texas Rangers fan, and his favorite player: “I was at the final game at the old park, watched the ceremony when they moved (home) plate over to the new one. The next year, I went to the new park, and thought that was the most-unbelievable park I had ever seen. I remember $1 hot dog nights; 12-14 years old, sitting in the upper deck, eating $1 hot dogs all day. Now the World Series is coming up there, so it’s pretty cool.

“Nolan Ryan. I’m a hitter, but I grew up wanting to pitch. I had tickets to his sixth no-hitter (May 1, 1991 against Toronto), and my Mom was too tired from work that day to take us. He threw a no-hitter, and I was so upset.”

On the likely possibility of designated hitting in Games 3-5: “That’s up to Boch (Giants manager Bruce Bochy). He’s nailed the lineups all postseason. Obviously, I’m comfortable DH-ing. I’ve done it a lot. At this point, I don’t care where I am. If I’m hitting (in the) eight-hole, I’m fine with it. I’ve hit six-hole the last two nights, and it’s working. I’ll hit behind the pitcher; I don’t care right now.”

On postseason hitting hero Juan Uribe: “He’s so strong, and he swings so hard. He runs into so many balls late in games. It’s gotta be 8-9-10 homers late in games that have tied it or put us ahead. He’s really, really clutch. We love him as a teammate. He’s got a lot of energy. He’s a fun guy – if you can understand him.”

Editor’s note: Tony DeMarco is a contributor to NBCSports.com who has been covering the big leagues since 1987. He’ll interview a guest during each day of the World Series for HardballTalk.com.

Yankees trade Chase Headley, Bryan Mitchell to the Padres for Jabari Blash

Getty Images
12 Comments

The New York Yankees have traded third baseman Chase Headley and pitcher Bryan Mitchell to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Jabari Blash. Joel Sherman of the New York Post was the first to report the trade. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report that Blash was coming back in return.

Headley, a third baseman, hit .273/.352/.406 for the Yankees last year. He, of course, played for the Padres from 2007 through the middle of 2014, when he was dealt to New York. Mitchell has pitched 48 games for the Yankees, most from the pen, over four seasons, with an ERA of 4.94 in 98.1 innings. He doesn’t strike out many and he walks a lot. He throws hard.

Blash, an outfielder, has hit .200/.323/.336 with eight homers in 279 big league plate appearances. Blash has shown a lot of power potential in the minors, but has not yet put it together in the bigs. Given what the Yankees have in their outfield at the moment, he’s going to be organizational depth or, perhaps, a chit in a future trade.

This would seem to be an exercise in salary clearing by the Yankees in anticipation of another move, as it takes about $13 million off of their payroll. Which is about how much was added to their payroll for 2018 in the Giancarlo Stanton deal. That could get Todd Frazier back for them, perhaps. Or it could help them retain CC Sabathia or go after another starting pitcher. The club likewise maintains an interest in getting under the $197 million payroll threshold which would trigger yet another year of 50% luxury tax payments for the Yankees.