Yesterday we lost Chad Huffman on waivers to the Yankees. You never enjoy losing a player, as you put him on your roster at one point in order to protect him. Nevertheless, these transactions always have multiple sides.
We're now at the point where we're losing good players in these situations, which speaks well of our organizational depth. Ok, I admit that's a pyrrhic victory of sorts. The main "good" to take from this situation is the acquisition of Aaron Cunningham (and even the re-acquisition of Scott Hairston). Aaron, in all candor, moved ahead of Chad on the corner OF depth chart, and the play of both Blanks and Venable didn't help either. Furthermore, we feel we have a couple of good corner OF's in AA San Antonio this season in Sawyer Carroll and Kellen Kulbacki. These guys now will have an increased opportunity. Here's hoping they take advantage of it.
We lost the player. And, he's a pretty good one. Chad was a 2nd round pick in 2006 out of TCU and has been a successful minor league hitter throughout his pro career, posting an OPS over .800 in each season. While crushing lefties early in his career, Chad had his most successful year yet against RHP during his first season in AAA in 2009. He always controlled the strike zone and also hit for some power - a combination we like. We think he'll be a good Major League hitter.
The Yankees! In all seriousness, the last two guys we've lost on waivers this winter/spring, Mike Ekstrom and Chad Huffman, have been claimed by two of the best teams in baseball - the Rays and the Yankees (and the Rays also claimed Jose Lobaton late last season). At least they're both in the AL. They really don't need our help! Then again, it does reflect the relative, and growing, attractiveness of the players in our system.
This wasn't an easy decision, as we feel good about our 40-man roster at this point. We talked about a number of different guys and worked through various scenarios - who had the best chance to clear waivers, what depth did we have, what depth did we anticipate needing during the year, etc.
We hate to lose good players. Additionally, we hate to lose good people, and Chad is a tremendous clubhouse guy. Getting beyond the selfish aspect, we're excited for Chad. We truly wish him the best with the Yankees and will be rooting for him to make it to New York and contribute to the big league team.