SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Aubrey Huff flew over San Francisco and was reminded again why he loves it so much.
Huff took a short break to decompress after the World Series, then wasted little time accomplishing his offseason plan: re-signing with the Giants.
Huff is staying put with San Francisco just as he’d hoped, agreeing to a $22 million, two-year contract with the World Series champions Tuesday. He receives $10 million in each of the next two seasons, and the Giants have a $10 million club option for 2013 with a $2 million buyout.
“There was a big interest out there. But in the end, it wasn’t going to take much to come back here for me,” Huff said at AT&T Park. “Some other team would have had to blow me away with like a four-year deal or something and a lot, a lot of dough to stay away from here.”
The Giants matched a similarly structured offer from another club _ knowing full well Huff wanted to stay.
“We paid the piper, and you can’t look back,” general manager Brian Sabean said during a conference call. “He was obviously underpaid for what he did for us last year. … He certainly did his part and received a just reward for it.”
Later Tuesday, the Giants offered infielder Juan Uribe salary arbitration. Players offered arbitration have until next Tuesday to accept. Uribe batted .248 with 24 homers and 85 RBIs in his second season with San Francisco.
Huff hit .290 with a team-leading 26 home runs and 86 RBIs while playing in 157 games, then batted .268 with one homer and eight RBIs in the postseason as the Giants won their first title since 1954.
Considering the mutual interest, it was no surprise a deal got done quickly, less than a month after the club beat Texas in five games to capture the city’s first championship since moving West in 1958.
“Obviously with a big contract comes a big responsibility on the field and in the community,” Huff said. “I’ll take pride in that.”
The 33-year-old Huff reached the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year big league career. He hit a two-run homer in a 4-0 Game 4 World Series victory, then laid down his first career sacrifice bunt in the clincher.
“I’ve played nine years of losing baseball for not-so-good teams and this is the most fun I’ve had playing baseball in my life,” Huff said. “To be able to come back and try to have a chance to defend this title which we earned this year, and to do it in this great city and this great organization, it’s actually a big moment for me.”
San Francisco signed Huff _ his lucky red rally thong also certain to come back in 2011 _ to a $3 million, one-year contract last January to provide a boost in the middle of the batting order. And the Giants got it.
“He’s a loose character but he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He takes the game seriously,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He was such an important piece of the club. You don’t have very many players who can do what Aubrey can do, play first and the outfield and the left-handed bat.”
The Giants were counting on Huff returning to his 2008 form, when he hit .304 with 32 homers and a career-best 108 RBIs.