He has been quietly putting together another decent season, but when you are in a contract year everything you do starts to get a little louder – especially when your team is not going to contend for the playoffs.
Aubrey Huff is definitely someone contenders will target. I asked Orioles blogger Dave from Weaver’s Tantrum what he thought about Huff and a couple other issues in fantasy baseball as they relate to the O’s.
FBHS: You ran a story on the different opinions of what should be done with Aubrey Huff. What do you personally think the Orioles should do and what do you think will actually happen with Huff?
Aubrey Huff’s future has been hotly debated among Orioles fans. There are several National League contenders, notably the Mets and Reds, who would benefit greatly from an upgrade at first base. The price will be high though. Big Aub’s contract is up after this year and the O’s have lots of options. They can try to resign him, they can take the draft picks if he leaves via free agency, or they can hope he accepts arbitration. The team doesn’t have to trade Huff.
Orioles chief Andy MacPhail is notoriously deliberate, particularly when it comes to putting together major trades. He’s bound to want a healthy return for Huff. This would be a hard deal to put together at the deadline. Chances are good that Huff finishes ’09 in Baltimore.
NOTE: If Huff is traded, remember Oscar Salazar’s name. He has been productive in very limited at bats over the last two years and could put up surprising offensive numbers in a full time role.
FBHS: People in deeper leagues are very angry with Melvin Mora. He did drive in 104 runs last year, right? What’s the reason for his struggles? Last season he was the best player in fantasy baseball for a stretch from late July until around mid-August. Is he capable of putting together a streak like that again or is he done?
Mora is a favorite in Baltimore, but it looks like we are watching the end of his career. Did he wear himself out at the World Baseball Classic? Is the sore hamstring that put him on the DL in April still a problem? Are his 37 years of age catching up to him? Whatever the reason, his power has completely disappeared. Last year at this time, BEFORE his hot streak, Mora was slugging .418. This year, he is sitting at a dismal .333 slugging percentage. He is still getting on base, but his home runs have turned into hard singles.
If you are a Mora fantasy owner looking for hope, remember that the Orioles have no third base prospects anywhere near ready for the majors. Barring a major trade for a young third baseman, the O’s will keep sending Mora out there every day. I don’t see any chance of him putting together a second half run like last year’s, but since he will get lots of playing time there is hope for improvement.
FBHS: It’s no surprise that the Orioles have the Rookie of the Year candidate heading toward late June. The only surprise is that it’s Nolan Reimold and not Matt Wieters. Who is this guy? If you cover your mouth after you say Nolan R… then you can make it sound like Nolan Ryan. He’s not him though, so I ask again who is this guy? Can he keep hitting?
Nolan Reimold is a guy who almost fell through the cracks. He came from Bowling Green University, where he led the NCAA in slugging. The Orioles got him in the second round of the 2005 draft and planned to fast-track him to the majors. Injuries to his back and foot interfered and Reimold fell off the radar for a few years. Despite a healthy and productive 2008, he began 2009 as a 25 year old AAA left fielder, buried behind Luke Scott, Felix Pie, and Lou Montanez on the organizational depth chart. Amazing how things can change in just three months.
Reimold changed the Orioles plans with a good showing at spring training and a red hot April in Triple A. In 31 AAA games Reimold hit .394 with power. He forced a promotion to the majors. He is the regular left fielder now, forcing Felix Pie to the bench. In 34 games he is hitting .287 with 8 home runs. He is very patient for a rookie, ranking third on the team in on base percentage.
Reimold can hit. He could always hit. There’s no reason he won’t keep on hitting. O’s manager Dave Trembley is determined to keep Reimold in the bottom of the order though, meaning he won’t have lots of RBI opportunities. Also, rookies often tail off at the end of their first major league season, but even accounting for those factors I’ll predict .270, 20 HR, and 60 RBI for him.
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