It’s been known for about a week that spring training non-roster invitee Matt Stairs would ultimately be purchased from the minors, and that someone would have to be taken off the 40-man roster to make room for the veteran outfielder.
Still, it wasn’t until today that we found out that someone was outfielder Chad Huffman, who launched 20 Triple-A homers last season.
Huffman will be 25 later this month, so he’s pretty old for someone who’s never played in the majors.
A stocky, powerful hitter with a decent batting eye, Huffman isn’t likely to be an impact player at the major league level. In some ways, he’s a right-handed poor man’s version of Stairs, actually–he’s got 15-25 homer power, walks quite a bit, and has enough contact skills to hit .250, but is short of an offensive star and helps little on defense.
A Matt Diaz sort of career, where he spends a decade as a platoon/bench player with a year or two of mediocre starting isn’t out of the question for Huffman, but the Padres already have Tony Gwynn, Will Venable, Kyle Blanks, and Aaron Cunningham in or near the majors, with promising talents like Jaff Decker, Donavan Tate, and Everett Williams on the way. Huffman wasn’t likely to have a role on the Padres any bigger than the one Stairs is going to have–a pinch-hitter and very occasional outfielder.
Let’s hope he clears waivers, because Huffman has some solid skills, and it’s always nice to have depth. Still, the Padres aren’t likely to have huge regrets about letting him go down the line.
One of my first posts here was on the pitcher-centric 40-man roster, as the Padres carried a whopping 24 pitchers on the 40-man this spring. It’s interesting that they chose to get rid of one of the few non-MLB position players rather than one of the many 40-man pitchers not on the staff.
I mean, would anyone really pick up Radhames Liz? Cesar Carrillo? Mark Worrell? Just a thought.