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2012 Roster Preview Part Two: First Base/Right Field (Or “Clusterhuff”)

February 29, 2012

Quick, staring contest, me and you...you win! You always do..."

Close your eyes and picture Aubrey Huff. Probably he’s doing something awesome, like sending a Tommy Hunter cutter soaring into the Texas night, or waving a pair of cherry red women’s underwear on the steps of City Hall. Probably you’re not picturing his dreadful 2011, because really, blech.

But 2011 did happen, as much as I’ve tried to drink it away. That means Huff is no longer a goofball team leader who finished 8th in MVP voting. He’s a 35-year-old dude coming off the worst season of his career.

That also means there should be a real competition at first base, particularly with Brondon Kyle “Baby Giraffe” Belt waiting in the wings. And so far, Bochy has said the right things. But close your eyes (yes, again) and picture a Bruce Bochy/Brian Sabean-led team on which a wily veteran earning upwards of $10 million sits in favor of an unproven whipper snapper. What’s that you say? You’re picturing a gay leprechaun riding a Republican unicorn instead, because that’s slightly more plausible? Yeah, OK, fair enough.

Barring injury or an 0-for-Spring Training, Huff is going to start somewhere. He can play the outfield and, what with all the offseason Pilates, he’s now a water buffalo with a totally toned core. Which means Belt is actually in competition with Nate Schierholtz and maybe Brett Pill for whichever spot Huff doesn’t claim. If Belt has a crazy hot Spring and Nate struggles, don’t be surprised to see Belt starting in left on Opening Day, with Cabrera shifting over to right. Oh, I know Schierholtz is the presumed starter. But he’s been Bowkerized before.

My prediction: Huff starts the season at first, Nate is in right, Pill is your right-handed bat off the bench and Belt is on the bus to Fresno. But there’s about five or six other scenarios that are also plausible. Close your eyes and imagine them all. I’ll be right over here, rewatching my World Series DVD and dreaming of rally thongs.

Pictured: my dream.

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