The San Francisco Giants filled the final open spot on their 40-man roster Friday night, acquiring left-handed pitcher David Huff from the New York Yankees for cash considerations. Huff, a 29-year-old who is a veteran of five big-league seasons, had been designated for assignment by the Yankees earlier this week to create roster space for Masahiro Tanaka.
Huff spent the entirety of his first four seasons with the Cleveland Indians before being acquired by the Yankees on waivers midway through last season. He’s never been exceptionally flashy, as his best numbers came in a 2012 campaign that saw him put up a 3-1 record with a 3.38 ERA in six major-league appearances. However, Huff is a tested veteran that has experience in both starting and relief roles, so he is a good depth player for the Giants to have.
While Huff has started in 169 of his 195 professional games, he seems more likely to be seen as a relief option for the Giants. After all, he threw mostly out of the ‘pen for the Yankees last year, throwing 29.1 innings over 12 appearances, and he experienced more success in this role, possessing a 3.99 ERA as a reliever as compared to his 10.80 mark as a starter. Huff can touch the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball, so if the Giants ultimately decide to use him in the bullpen he would have greater velocity than the majority of their relievers.
With San Francisco having let go of lefty reliever Jose Mijares this offseason, they had a lack of left-handed relief depth. However, they’ve done a good job of solidifying that area over the past few weeks, signing Dan Runzler and Dontrelle Willis to minor-league deals. With prospects Josh Osich, Phil McCormick and Bryce Bandilla decently close to being big-league ready and young starters Michael Kickham and Jose De Paula capable of pitching in relief, the Giants should have no problems should either of their top two lefties, Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt, go down.
Huff should get a chance to compete for one of the several open spots in the Giants’ bullpen. Seeing as the team has carried three lefties for a large chunk of the past two seasons, he may have an advantage without a third left-hander having established himself thus far. With that said, he may be considered redundant, as right-hander Yusmeiro Petit seems to have a firm grip on the team’s long relief role, and that is Huff’s area of specialty as well.
Huff is out of options, so he will have to clear through waivers to remain in the Giants’ organization should he fail to make the team out of spring training. As we saw last year with Petit, however, it is still very possible that he could make it through unclaimed and then ultimately come back to contribute later on in the season.
While Huff is by no means a star contributor, he provides some extra depth to the San Francisco pitching staff that will be instrumental in getting them through the full season. As the 2013 Giants found out the hard way, you can never have enough big-league-ready pitching, and the addition of Huff gives them more of that.