Aubrey Huff

In search of bat, O's make Huff an offer

Still looking to add an impact bat to the middle of their lineup, the Orioles made a contract offer yesterday to Aubrey Huff, one of the most accomplished players left on the free- agent market.

Exact details of the contract offer are unknown, but one industry source said the Orioles proposed a three-year deal to Huff, worth in the neighborhood of $6 million per season.

Huff's asking price has gone down significantly since the opening of free agency. One baseball executive, whose team has talked to Huff's representatives, said the 30-year-old, who can play first and third base and the corner outfield spots, was seeking a three-year deal worth around $7.5 million per season. The Orioles' initial offer is not believed to be that high.

Pirates touch base with Huff - Free agent had 21 home runs last season

The Pirates have made contact with Aubrey Huff, the most prominent left-handed power hitter remaining in free agency, and are one of a handful of teams considered to be in the running for his services.

The others are the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles.

Huff, who turned 30 Wednesday, batted .266 with 21 home runs and 65 RBIs last season, which he split between the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Houston Astros. In the previous three seasons, all with Tampa Bay, his home run totals were 34, 29 and 22, his RBI totals 107, 104 and 92. He can play first base, third base and the corner outfield spots.

Aubrey Huff Update

The Orioles continue to pursue three- way trade opportunities that would land Thames, 29, who hit .256 with 26 homers and 60 RBIs last season. Orioles officials would love to add both players. And a backup plan to Thames has emerged in Aubrey Huff, the free agent first baseman/DH who has always hit well at Camden Yards.

Orioles officials met with Huff's agent late Wednesday night and are now giving heavy consideration to making the former Tampa Bay Devil Ray an offer.

"These same players we are considering now, we talked about back in September," said Orioles vice president Jim Duquette, disputing the notion that the Orioles are completely in fall-back mode. "We were hoping not to get it to that part of the list, but we've had plenty of conversations on them."


Notes: Luck not on Huff's side

ST. LOUIS -- The way Aubrey Huff's luck is going these days, he could probably empty out his entire bank account and still not be able to buy a hit.

That's not to say that Huff isn't hitting well. In fact, he's looked better at the plate than most of his teammates for much of the last month. But he's got absolutely nothing to show for it except a slew of 0-fer games, which is understandably driving the third baseman/oufielder crazy.

"It's frustrating because you do everything you can," Huff said. "You hit the ball hard and you can't really control what happens after that. If I can get just half those balls that I've hit in the last two months to fall in, I'd be looking at a different year, a different second half."

Tuesday's game perfectly illustrated Huff's plight. He hit three balls right on the nose ... and right at the fielders. Huff tatooed a ball in the third that went directly into Scott Rolen's glove. In the seventh, he hit a laser shot to left, right to Scott Spiezio and in the ninth, he ended the game with a well-hit fly ball to straightaway center field, where Juan Encarnacion was waiting.

Notes: Huff getting lots of playing time

PHILADELPHIA -- When Aubrey Huff sent Phillies lefty Cole Hamels' offering deep to right field on Monday, he not only tied the game, but may have also bought himself another day in the Astros starting lineup.

Huff got the start at third base against Phils lefty Randy Wolf on Wednesday night -- his second straight nod against a southpaw. This is despite the fact that he's hitting 42 points lower against lefties than he is against righties.

Huff, who can also play the outfield, is battling the struggling Morgan Ensberg at the hot corner. The right-handed-hitting Ensberg has started just five of the Astros' last 19 games, including Wednesday's.