Sports Outside the Beltway

Huff inks 3yr $20M deal with O’s news services

The Orioles have reached agreement with free-agent utilityman Aubrey Huff, the Baltimore Sun reported Saturday, citing several industry sources.

The offer is believed to be for three years and $20 million, the newspaper reported.

Huff, a 30-year-old left-handed slugger, is expected to take a physical next week in Baltimore.

“All that is left is a physical and dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s,” one source familiar with the negotiations told the Sun.

The Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates also were believed to be pursuing Huff, the newspaper reported.

One factor the Orioles had to appreciate: Huff has a .285 career average at Camden Yards and has batted .297 against the Orioles over his seven seasons in the majors. He has more home runs (20) and RBI (63) against Baltimore than against any other team.

Huff hit a combined .267 in 2006 for Tampa Bay and Houston, with 21 home runs and 66 RBI. He was dealt to Houston on July 13 and hit .250 in 68 games for the Astros. He posted career highs in 2003 with a .311 average, 34 home runs and 107 RBI.

This is a great deal for the O’s. Huff brings a stable, power bat to the O’s lineup. Huff can play 3B, 1B, RF, LF, and DH. Although not know for his glove, he is adequate in the field. Huff also brings a great eye and improving patience to the plate, averaging almost a walk for every strikeout. He should slot nicely into the #5 spot, a spot where he flourished last year (41-G 145-AB 21-R 49-H 8-2B 1-3B 7-HR 26-RBI 18-BB 18-K .338 .417 .552).

Huff also knows the AL East very well and is in a left handed hitters haven. I expect him to hit between .280-.295 with 25-30 HR and 90+ RBI. The Orioles got a bargain for those numbers this offseason.

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