Yeah, yeah, More Splash Hits know. These are two guys in the No. 6 spot, which of course means this is a Top-11 list and not a Top-10 list. Really, I mean you can’t even send the Christmas Card to the same address.
But there are similarities enough between Friedman and Huntington to group them together for this purpose.
And if you’re hung up on the 10-or-11 thing, consider the No. 6 spot a readers’ choice (i.e. you can send a Xmas card to Friedman or Huntington).
On Jan. 5, 2009, Friedman, general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, went against rule No. 1 of any baseball general manager — and that is don’t sign a free agent who is older than you — when he signed Pat Burrell for two years, $16 million. Burrell is actually about a month older than Friedman.
But Friedman went with a different strategy. And that’s “If you can’t beat him, sign him.” Burrell was a member of the Phillies the previous fall when Philly beat Tampa Bay in the World Series.
But Burrell, who had never hit fewer than 18 home runs in any of his previous nine big-league seasons, hit 14 in his first year with the Rays, batting .221.
In 2010, it got worse. Burrell was .202 with 2 HRs and 13 RBI when he was released by the Rays on May 19.
Ten days later, he was signed by the Giants, and hit .261 with 18 HRs with the Giants and was a pivotal part of the Giants’ push into the playoffs.
With Huntington, the Pirates GM, it’s a similar story. Huntington signed Lopez for $775,000 after the left-handed pitcher posting a 9.26 ERA in 14 games with the Red Sox in 2009.
Lopez was solid with the Pirates, posting a 2.79 ERA in 38.2 IP. But with Lopez was arbitration eligible after the 2010 season, the low-budget Bucs traded him to the Giants for OF John Bowker and LHP Joe Martinez.
Lopez went on to post a 1.42 ERA in 19 IPs for the Giants. In the postseason, he gave up one run in 5.2 IPs with six Ks.
Also Huntington was responsible for the deal that sent 2B Freddy Sanchez to San Francisco for pitching prospect Tim Alderson. Alderson went 11-9 with a 6.03 ERA between Class A and AA in 2010.
Oh, and there’s one other link between Friedman and Huntington, besides helping the Giants with some key players.
The Ray and Pirates were two of the four teams that passed on Buster Posey in the 2008 MLB first-year player draft. The Royals and Orioles are the other two.
So thanks Andrew and Neil for all the players — Pat Burrell, Freddy Sanchez, Javier Lopez AND Buster Posey.
The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fans Christmas Card List:
No. 7, Roy Oswalt
No. 8, Bud Black
No. 9, Paul Emmel
No. 10, Bengie Molina