Chad Huffman went from being talked about an outfield option in San Diego to a player on waivers all in the course of a year. Huffman was claimed by the Yankees today ending his four year stint in the Padres organization that drafted him as a second round pick in 2006.
Huffman spent last season at Triple-A Portland where he hit .269/.361/.469 with 20 homers and 30 doubles. Known for a patient eye he drew 57 walks and 115 strike outs. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Padres began to sour on Huffman in 2008 when he was playing in Double-A. Despite the league being known as a hitters paradise Huffman hit .284/.383/.419 and while it wasn’t the average of on base skills they were concerned about it was his ability to constantly hit for power.
Some will argue that Huffman was playing in pitcher friendly Wolff Stadium while with San Antonio but it’s not to say it’s any worse then a move to Petco Park in San Diego.
Hufman rebounded last season as his home run totals did return to 20 and he did rake 30 doubles again but when the team needed a spot for non roster invitee Matt Stairs it was Huffman’s spot that was taken.
While the Padres denied they were shopping Adrian Gonzalez, one has to believe that had he been traded and Hufman hit better then the 1-for-23 he did this spring it’s possible that Huffman may even have cracked the Padres opening day roster.
But with Gonzalez still on the roster it keeps Kyle Blanks in left. The Padres don’t seem to want to remove Tony Gwynn from the lineup since his father is the teams most storied player so that leaves Will Venable, who is capable of playing center, in left field.
While the addition of Jerry Hairston may be said to fill the role of a utility player it’s clear the Padres plan to play him at second base in place of David Eckstein on more then a few occasions.
Huffman doesn’t figure to play much of a role for the Yankees this season and unless he’s traded else where may find himself playing the role of Shelley Duncan this year.