Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Aubrey Huff Injury Shows Trade Strategy Downside

The Devil Rays just learned the downside of playing hard-to-get with suitors for 3B/OF Aubrey Huff. Awaiting an MRI after straining his knee in a collision with 2B Nick Green, Huff has been on the trading block since last summer as Tampa Bay seeks to find value for him before losing him at the end of Huff's $6.5 million annual contract. But the strategy has been to hold back as long as possible, figuring the more potential suitors wait the more they will be willing to pay. But the longer the team waits, the more the plan could backfire as Huff is continually exposed to the jeopardy of injury that could wipe out his value. Fortunately for the Rays, preliminary indications point to Huff's prompt return from the knee injury, as the MRI is regarded as precautionary. Another Tampa Bay trade nugget, SS Julio Lugo, is also missing time after straining his groin during the first game of the season. Lugo has reported a strong recovery and predicts he will be able to play when he is elibible to return April 19. Perhaps Tampa Bay has been spoiled after stealing budding superstar Scott Kazmir from the Mets in a trade for Victor Zambrano.