With Huff under contract, what happens to Brandon Belt?
Like I said a few minutes ago, the Aubrey Huff contract is not a terrible one. I had visions that the Giants would give him four years or something crazy, but two years plus an option is not a bad deal for the guy. The one question it raises, however, is what the Giants should/will do about first base prospect Brandon Belt.
Belt, for those who don’t know, was a 2009 draftee who spent 2010 rocketing his way through the Giants system. He began in High-A ball where he played 77 games, moved on to Double-A where he played 46 more and then spent 13 games at Triple-A. He raked at all three stops, with OPSs of 1.121, 1.036 and .956, respectively. He turned heads in the Arizona Fall League this year as well. Most who have seen him believe he’ll rake in the big leagues, and that he stands a chance at being a plus-defender at first base.
But Huff’s there for now. And for now, that won’t matter. Given that the Giants didn’t call Buster Posey up until late in 2009, hardly played him and then let him sit in the minors for the first two months of 2010, there’s a decent chance that Belt doesn’t sniff the bigs until next September. And a chance that he doesn’t have a regular job in the bigs until a few months before Huff’s contract is up, at which point Bruce Bochy will figure out how to blend them together.
But even if the Giants decide to promote Belt earlier than they did Posey, things could still work out. Huff played 46 games in left field last year and a few more in right. He could certainly do it again. Would it be ideal? Nah, but they lived with and won a World Series with Pat Burrell manning left field last season, and there’s no way Huff could be worse out there, can there? Even if he’s a total liability, Bochy proved more than content to use defensive replacements early and often for Burrell, so he’d be able to do the same with Huff.
So, no, I don’t see the Huff deal as somehow blocking Brandon Belt. Mostly because, if Brian Sabean’s form holds, he won’t be in San Francisco to be blocked for a while. And even if he is, there are ways to deal with it.