Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Chris Ray, 2008 Topps Gold #172
Aubrey Huff, as is his wont, followed an awful season with a great one. After batting a career-low .241 with a brutal 81 OPS+, he signed with the Giants for $3 million and proved to be a bargain. He hit .290 and led the club with a .385 on-base percentage, 100 runs scored, 26 home runs, and 86 RBI. He was second to Andres Torres with 35 doubles and 7 stolen bases (!) in 7 attempts. There was also some business about a lucky thong that I just don't have the strength to discuss. In the first postseason experience of his career he batted .268 with one home run and eight RBI in 15 games, which included a .294 mark (5-for-17) in the World Series. His two-run homer in Game Four put the Giants on top for good, and he was on the field when Brian Wilson struck out Nelson Cruz to end it all and touch off the celebration.
Eli Whiteside spent eight years paying dues in the minor leagues (the first seven with the Birds) before the Giants made him their number two catcher in 2009. In his current capacity as Buster Posey's backup, he's about as busy as the Maytag repairman. But he hit .238 in the 56 games he did play, with four home runs. Last night he was one of the first guys out of the dugout to jump on the pile in the infield.
Denny Bautista debuted with the O's in 2004, back when he was a highly promising young pitcher. He was lit up in two games, and then was traded to the Royals for Jason Grimsley, to the dismay and confusion of many fans. He's never followed through on that promise, and this year the Giants became his sixth big league team. Denny appeared in 31 games as a reliever from May through August and was perfectly acceptable, compiling a 3.74 ERA and striking out 44 in 33.2 innings before a demotion to AAA Fresno. He is currently a free agent.
Of course, there's also Chris Ray. As an Oriole, he peaked with 33 saves at age 24 in 2006, but never got back on track after Tommy John surgery ended his 2007 season. He was traded to the Rangers this past offseason for Kevin Millwood, and was famously traded in midseason for Bengie Molina (how many times over the past week did you hear about how Bengie would get a ring no matter which team won?). His ERA with the Giants was an underwhelming 4.13 in 28 games, but 6 of his 11 earned runs allowed came in two disastrous outings. He grabbed three wins, two holds, and a save in relief for San Francisco, but was left off of the postseason roster.
Kudos to all of these players. I can't wait until my World Series recap involves 25 players with ties to the Orioles, if you get my drift.