Aubrey Huff has officially announced his retirement from baseball, ending a 13-year Major League career, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish.
“I’m officially done. I have no desire to play anymore,” Huff said over the phone on Saturday. “That has come and gone. I couldn’t even imagine picking up a bat and trying to get ready for the whole grind of a baseball season anymore. I’m enjoying this way too much, just hanging out.”
Huff already has a new job lined up, as he will be a broadcaster with the Pac-12 network starting next month.
Huff was drafted by the Devil Rays in the fifth round of the 1998 draft and spent seven seasons in the big leagues with them. Over the rest of his career, he would play with the Astros, Orioles, Tigers, and Giants. He was a big part of the 2010 World Series champion Giants, posting an .891 OPS during the regular season with a few multi-hit games during the post-season. Perhaps his most important contribution to that team, though, was the inception of the “red rally thong“. He won a second ring as part of the 2012 Giants as well, but his role and contributions were reduced, as he was 35 years old.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.