San Francisco Giants fans breathed a collective sigh of relief as their team signed free-agent left fielder Mike Morse to a deal on Thursday. The Giants, who had yet to address their most pressing need, acquiring a new outfielder, have finally made the necessary move.
CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly had the first reports.
Giants signed Morse.— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) December 12, 2013
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the deal is worth $5 million, with incentives.
Mike Morse will make a base of about $5 million with the Giants, with incentives.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 12, 2013
Also, per John Shea, the deal spans one year.
One year deal for Michael Morse. #SFgiants have their left fielder.— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) December 12, 2013
It is a smart move on the Giants’ part, as they invested little with the chance to receive a top player. The only question is which player Morse will turn out to be in San Francisco. He could be the player from 2010-12, when he hit .296, including a career-high 31 home runs in 2011. However, he also had a difficult season last year in which he batted just .215 and 13 home runs, due in large part to wrist troubles.
Another question in regards to Morse is his suspect defense. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Morse’s career UZR/150 is -18.3, well below the what the Giants would ideally want from their starting left fielder. However, the Giants have dealt with defensive liabilities in left field in the past, such as Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff, while still managing to be successful. The Giants can also insert Gregor Blanco in the later innings to provide some defensive relief.
In order to keep his spot in the outfield, Morse will have to make up for his lackluster defense with his bat. Giants fans can only hope it will be the bat from 2011, not from 2013.