Archive for the SF Giants Rumors category.

Brandon Belt Will Have A Breakout Season, And This Is Why…

Posted on January 20th, 2014 by admin in SF Giants Rumors
Credit: Steven Robles - SF Giants Rumors

Credit: Steven Robles – SF Giants Rumors

In a very forgettable season for the San Francisco Giants, there were few bright spots in 2013. One of those bright spots was Brandon Belt. Belt was one of the top three hitters for the Giants and was very productive all around, but I believe he didn’t reach his full potential. Belt was a 4 win player while hitting .289/.360/.481 and “belting” 17 home runs. He also had a 139 wRC+ and a .365 wOBA. Many people would consider that a breakout season for him, but I think he will be even better in the coming year. At 25 years old, Belt has the makings of being a star for the Giants. No, he isn’t going to hit 40 homers and drive in 100 runs, he isn’t that type of player, but he is the kind of player that gets on base at an excellent rate and has good power while playing very good defense. He has the potential to hit .300, get on base at a .385 clip, hit 25 homers, and steal 15 bases. I predict we see Belt do that in 2014.

In 2013 on a trip to play the Philadelphia Phillies, Belt talked to Phillies’ slugger Domonic Brown. Brown gave him advice and told him that he had similar problems his first few years in the major leagues. He told Belt to grip the bat differently and Belt said that clicked in his mind and he decided to try it himself. That helped him greatly and Belt ended 2013 with very solid numbers. In 2014 the Giants project Belt batting in the three spot of the lineup behind infielder Marco Scutaro and ahead of catcher Buster Posey.

Belt is the first baseman that nobody is talking about and I think that will change in the next few years. He is young enough and has the potential to become an All-Star at his position. Belt is going to be a huge part of the Giants for the near future and their playoff hopes can hinge on how he produces in a power-lacking lineup.

Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!

~Randy Boyles

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The Giants’ Season Was A Disaster Because…

Posted on January 2nd, 2014 by admin in SF Giants Rumors

 

Credit: Steven Robles - SF Giants Rumors

Credit: Steven Robles – SF Giants Rumors

If only the answer was simple. In a team sport, success and failure can almost never be attributed to a single event or player’s performance. Usually, it is a combination of many things that contribute to winning and losing. In retrospect, let’s look back at the 5 biggest factors responsible for the San Francisco Giants’ fall from grace in 2013.

 

5) Losing Angel Pagan: Pagan spent much of the season on the shelf with a hamstring injury. The Giants never found a capable replacement to man center field in his absence. While Pagan is not necessarily a stellar defender, he is more than capable with the glove. However, the Giants experienced better defensive metrics with Gregor Blanco and Juan Perez roaming center. Where Pagan’s injury hurt the team the most was in the leadoff spot. Without Pagan, the team struggled to get men on base and set the table for Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, and Hunter Pence. A healthy Pagan is a must if the team wants to win next season.

 

4Marco Scutaro’s rapid decline: By all accounts, Scutaro’s final stat line was rather solid for the two-hole as he hit .297/.357/.369. The problem was that his production was spread out across 127 games (compared to 156 in 2012). Given Scutaro’s age (38), the team knew Scutaro wouldn’t continue to hit .362/.385/.473 over 61 games as he did when GM Brian Sabean acquired him at the trade deadline two years ago. However, it was quite apparent that Scutaro is more of a liability in the field (13 errors) with decreased mobility and range, which can be quite detrimental to a team short on power that relies on defense and pitching to win. The Giants knew they wouldn’t keep getting 156 games a year out of Scutaro, but it’s reasonable to assume they didn’t expect his body to start breaking down as quickly as it has. Once again, the Giants never had a capable replacement to start at second base when Scutaro couldn’t go. With no Pagan or Scutaro on so many occasions, the Giants lacked the table-setting dynamic they had when they won both World Series titles.

 

3) A Down Year for Pablo Sandoval: The Kung Fu Panda had a rough year, showing up to camp out of shape and missing more than 20 games on the DL. Sandoval hit an uninspiring .278/.341/.417 with only 14 home runs and 79 RBIs, nearly replicating the production of the previous year in which he only played 108 games. Had Sandoval had the career year many were expecting, the Giants would have had an easier time scoring runs, making life easier on his teammates. Posey only hit .244 after the All-Star Break, and more production from the Panda would have helped take the pressure off Buster’s shoulders. A healthy, in-shape Sandoval will be vital if the Giants aim to contend in 2014.

 

2) A Lack of Depth: The Giants have been luckier than most teams in recent years, avoiding major injuries to their roster (the 2011 Posey injury notwithstanding). In the end, DL stints for Ryan Vogelsong, Pagan, Scutaro, Sandoval, Chad GaudinJeremy AffeldtMatt Cainand more exposed the lack of depth that Sabean knew was a glaring weakness when the 2013 season began. The revolving door of replacements (Mike Kickham, Sandy Rosario, Kensuke Tanaka, Juan Perez, Roger Kieschnick, Nick Noonan, and co.) simply couldn’t give the team the production it needed to win. Injuries to backups Juaquin Arias and Tony Abreu only further exposed the need for depth.

 

1) Subpar Pitching and Defense: As much as critics want to harp on the effect of injuries and a lack of depth, the single biggest factor in the Giants’ losing season was disappointing play of the pitching staff and team defense. The team won both its titles on the strength of its pitching and glove work. The Giants committed 107 errors in 2013, tied for 3rd most in the National League. They ranked 13th among 15 National League teams in starter’s ERA (4.37). Madison Bumgarner had a stellar season (13-9, 2.77 ERA), but a brutal first half for Cain (4.00 ERA despite posting a 2.36 second-half ERA) deprived the team of the consistency it had come to depend on from its ace. Tim Lincecum tossed a no-hitter but still struggled to the tune of a 10-14 record and 4.37 ERA. Vogelsong spent much of the year on the DL and was only able to register 19 starts in which he posted a 5.73 ERA. Barry Zito (5-11, 5.74 ERA) was utterly overmatched away from AT&T Park, possibly pitching his way out of baseball altogether. All of this led to early exits that overtaxed the bullpen and deficits that an offensive-challenged team simply could not overcome. Had the team played better defense and Lincecum, Vogelsong, Zito, and Cain each won another 3 or 4 games, the Giants would have finished above .500. In truth, they probably still miss the playoffs, but the memory of the 2013 season becomes more disappointing than disastrous. If the Giants are to remain even competitive next season, they will be counting on bounce-back years from Cain, Vogelsong, and Lincecum, and solid pitching from Tim Hudson who was acquired to replace Zito in the rotation.

 

Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!

 

~Paul Ghiglieri

 

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Checklist For The Giants Offseason

Posted on December 31st, 2013 by admin in SF Giants Rumors

 

Credit: Steven Robles - SF Giants Rumors

Credit: Steven Robles – SF Giants Rumors

After sweeping the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 Fall Classic, the San Francisco Giants were expected to be a force in the National League. After going 76-86 and finishing in a third place tie with the San Diego Padres in the National League West, the Giants had a very disappointing 2013. The front office entered the offseason with some pretty big expectations from some of the most devoted fans in baseball. The checklist for the offseason was to resign Tim Lincecum, acquire a power hitting left fielder, and to replace Barry Zito. So far, the Giants have re-signed Hunter Pence (5 years, $90 million), Lincecum (2 years, $35 million), Ryan Vogelsong (one year, $5 million before incentives), and Javier Lopez (3 years, $13 million). The Giants also signed free agent outfielder Michael Morse to a one-year, $6 million deal and free agent starting pitcher Tim Hudson to a two-year, $23 million deal. Although they have filled a lot of holes on their roster, I believe there are two more spots that need to be improved upon.

One of those spots is a closer. In 2013 Sergio Romo pitched a full season as the full-time closer for the first time in his career. He had a 2.54 ERA, an 8.7 K/9, and a 1.077 WHIP. All of those are very good numbers, but they aren’t consistent with his career stats. From 2010-2012 Romo averaged a 1.82 ERA, an 11.2 K/9, and a 0.842 WHIP. I believe he could maximize his potential in the eighth inning and the Giants are better off acquiring a closer like Grant Balfour. Balfour’s two-year deal with the Orioles recently fell through because of a supposed problem with his physical, although he says he is baffled at what happened and that he is 100% healthy. Balfour was very similar to Romo in 2013 and would be well-suited in the ninth inning for the Giants. If the Giants signed Balfour to close, they would have one of the strongest bullpens in baseball. They would have Balfour in the ninth, Romo and Javier Lopez in the eighth, Santiago Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt in the seventh, Heath Hembree in the sixth, and Yusmeiro Petit as the long man and replacement starter.

The other problem that needs to be fixed is the situation with the backup catcher. Although Hector Sanchez is very young and could possibly develop into a solid offensive player, he just doesn’t belong in the major leagues at this time. In a combined 150 games since 2011, Sanchez has averaged a 91 OPS+, .299 OBP, .370 SLG, and collected a 0.6 fWAR. In 2013 he had an ISO of .101 and a 5.0 BB%. He is below average defensively and doesn’t run the bases well. The bottom line is that Buster Posey doesn’t catch 162 games per year so the Giants would benefit greatly by getting a competent backup catcher.

All together, the Giants’ offseason is filled with a lot of question marks. Lincecum, Hudson, Vogelsong, and Morse are all very high risk players. Hudson, Vogelsong, and Morse are coming off of injury-plagued seasons and Lincecum, as we all know, used to be one of the best pitchers in baseball until he completely tanked in 2012 and slightly improved in 2013. The Giants are banking on him somewhat returning to form in 2014 so he isn’t a waste of money. If the Giants signed an effective closer/reliever and a backup catcher, I think they would be set for the upcoming season and can feel fairly confident about the possibility of returning to the postseason.

Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!

 

~Randy Boyles

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​Now That Left Field Is Filled, The Giants Should…

Posted on December 30th, 2013 by admin in SF Giants Rumors
Photo Courtesy of Steven Robles

Photo Courtesy of Steven Robles

Left Fielder, check. Complete the starting rotation, check. Re-sign Javier Lopez, check. Add depth to the outfield, infield and if possible the bullpen; check?

 
Here’s the deal, you can never have too many good players, and most championship teams have a strong bench with players who can come in for one at-bat, or one game, or one week; and even longer while still keeping production up.
 
The San Francisco Giants current 40 man roster has been filled in nicely with the late season signings and off-season moves such as signing former Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson, keeping Hunter Pence and his scooter in San Francisco; and bringing back Tim Lincecum with his revamped pitching attack to cavernous AT&T Park.
 
But to me, something is missing. I look at the 40 man roster and I’m not all that thrilled with a few aspects of it. Let’s look at the outfield first. The aforementioned Pence is golden, I like Angel Pagan; and his absence last year showed just how important his bat is at the top of the lineup. Michael Morse will be the new left fielder, and his thump in the batting order will hopefully be felt early and often next season.
 
After these three starters, I feel as though there is a hole in terms of quality depth that can make a difference over the course of a week, or two if needed due to one of the regulars being injured.
 
Gregor Blanco has nice parts to his game- such as his speed and late game defense, and sometimes there’s some pop from his bat; but it’s just not someone to get excited about.
 
Roger Kieschnick is young and unproven, Gary Brown- even younger and more unproven, Juan Perez; average. Not much excitement after the starting three, and I have a feeling the overall play of the outfield will be the key to how well and how far the Giants go.
 
Switching to the infield, depth again seems to be a problem; quality depth I should say. The Brandon’s (Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford) can pick it with the best of them defensively, and hopefully their offense will continue to evolve and produce more consistently. I love Marco Scutaro, just a solid player who embodies a professionalism and veteran savvy.
 
Pablo Sandoval is in a make or break year if you think about it. Can he stay healthy? Can he keep his playing weight under control? Can he be a consistent threat in the middle of the lineup?
 
Tony AbreuJoaquin AriasNick Noonan- average. The other infielders on the 40 man roster are all unproven, young, and/or not ready for the big league contribution. As with the outfielders, the quality depth in the infield is a big question mark heading in to Spring Training.
 
The catching platoon with All-Everything Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez is solid, especially if Sanchez can stay healthy and get his power numbers up.
 
The starting pitching and bullpen are a good combination of veteran moxie, mixed in with young talent that is on the rise such as Heath HembreeJake Dunning, and Edwin Escobar to name a few.
 
I think Erik Cordier, who throws gas, and Yusmeiro Petit who excelled late last season will be dark-horse candidates that have the potential to make the pitching staff top-notch once again.
 
Ideally, there will be some mid-season acquisitions or pleasant surprises in spring training that can help the bullpen return to its dominant form exhibited in both of their championship seasons of 2010 and 2012.
 
The National League West will be a battle all season long. For the Giants to contend and be in the Hunt for October in 2014, thereare still some moves that should be made to shore up the overall team depth.
 
Hopefully General Manager Brian Sabean and Team President Larry Baer can work some more winter magic and add an infielder or two, as well as one more piece in the outfield. Should this happen, there’s a strong chance Giants fans will be filling the seats of AT&T Park for playoff baseball next season.
 
Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!
 
~Amin Arikat
 
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Grading The San Francisco Giants Offseason

Posted on December 26th, 2013 by admin in SF Giants Rumors

 

Picture courtesy of Marko Realmonte

Picture courtesy of Marko Realmonte

Winter meetings have come and gone. While there still remains a number of high-profile free agents (and some not so “high-profile”), the San Francisco Giants and Brian Sabean have said that they’re basically done with major league deals for this offseason.

 

So… that’s it then?

 

If that’s the case, then I say we take a look back at the last two months and decide just how good the Giants offseason moves were. Before we get into it, I’ll tell you upfront what I think.

 

Overall Grade for the SF Giants 2014 Offseason: B+

 

“Impossible!” you might shout at this point, especially based on what I’ve seen on Twitter. But I’ve got to say; overall I’m impressed with what the Giants have done to prepare for next year.

 

9/29 – Giants extend RF Hunter Pence

 

Okay, okay, so it’s not technically the offseason. But I’m still going to look at this move as one that the Giants needed to make, and in fact, it’s even more impressive that they made it before the season ended. Pence provides power, speed and that overused, crutch-of-a-word, “chemistry” to this team. The 20+ steals was unexpected and a huge boost and I don’t expect anything less than that to go with at least 23 homeruns this season.

 

Individual Grade: A

 

10/25 – Giants extend RHP Tim Lincecum

 

While I fully admit to being a Lincecum fanboy, this move (details here) is one of my least favorite signings of the offseason. It has everything to do with the dollar amount, and even now, months later, I’m still conflicted. Ultimately, while I don’t necessarily agree with the move, I can understand and appreciate it. Lincecum (like the next guy I’ll discuss) is here to fill a void for two more years until we see the next crop of young, talented, homegrown Giants pitchers. It’s also a strategic marketing move to help keep loyal fans loyal and excited until we pick our new favorite to root for.

 

Individual Grade: C+

 

11/18 – Giants sign free agent RHP Tim Hudson

 

I’ve already written a piece on why I think the Hudson signing was a great one. He provides 2-years of above average pitching and a very strong veteran experience/presence on a staff that is in a transitional period. I strongly believe that Hudson, Ryan Vogelsong, and Lincecum are not a part of any long-term plan and will be gone after two years, but those two years are going to be instrumental in shaping the rising crop of young Giants arms. This is, in my opinion, what makes Hudson so valuable.

 

Individual Grade: B+

 

11/26 – Giants sign free agent LHP Javier Lopez

 

Can you imagine the uproar if the Giants let Lopez slip away? Lopez is baseball’s top left-handed specialist and genuinely enjoys and likes playing in San Francisco. It was a no-brainer, right? It seemed like Lopez might be interested in jumping over to his hometown Washington Nationals for a bit, but the Giants made sure to bring him back. He is a staple in what has, over the last couple years, been one of the most solid bullpens in baseball. Losing Lopez would have meant Jeremy Affeldt (or someone new, maybe?) would take over the lefty-specialist role, and I don’t know about you, but that idea doesn’t leave me quite as comfortable.

 

Individual Grade: A

 

12/2 – Giants sign free agent RHP Ryan Vogelsong

 

This is in the running for, in my opinion, the most disappointing move of the offseason. The Giants chose to decline Vogelsong’s option, and the general thought was that they were going to bring in someone better. All that actually happened is that the Giants brought Vogelsong back for a little less money (if you consider $1.5 million to be “a little”). Like Hudson and Lincecum, he won’t be around for more than two years, but does serve a valuable role in helping bridge the gap to the new generation. Also on the positive side, locking in a pitcher at a small contract gave them more time and money to focus on LF.

 

Individual Grade: C-

 

12/17 – Giants sign free agent LF Michael Morse

 

This one is what bumped the Giant’s offseason from a C+ to a B+. Morse brings the Giants a longball threat that they can place pretty much anywhere in their order (3-7, although I’d like him 6th, behind Pence and before Pablo Sandoval). While his defense and health are certainly questionable, the upside is undeniable. In his last full season, Morse played 146 games and batted .303 with 31 homeruns and 95 RBIs. Over his whole tenure with the Nats, he averaged 115 games, 21 homers, 66 RBIs and a .296 average. He may not match that again (ever), but the potential is there, and at only $5 million, it’s definitely a risk well worth it. Adding Morse also gives the Giants one of the most offensive lineups they’ve seen in the last decade, with Brandon BeltBuster Posey, Pence, Morse and Sandoval. Each one of those guys can hit 20+ homeruns.

 

Individual Grade: A

 

And there you have it. The Giants have made a lot of other moves at the minor league level, and will probably continue to do so throughout the offseason. In terms of the big league squad, though, this is it. Many might say that the Giants missed out on a real pitcher (Masahiro Tanaka comes to mind, as does my personal favorite, Ubaldo Jimenez) or that Morse is a joke of a signing, but in the end, the Giants have improved. Lincecum can’t be worse than he was last year (at least it’s not likely), Hudson is an upgrade from Barry Zito, and Vogelsong will at worst be the same. And the offense, despite what the Morse naysayers have to naysay, is better with him in it.

 

This team is upgraded, and for that, this offseason has earned a B+.

 

Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!

 

~Robert Barsanti

 

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5 Reasons Barry Bonds Should Be In The Hall of Fame

Posted on December 23rd, 2013 by admin in SF Giants Rumors

Barry-Bonds-FlagOne of the hottest topics in baseball since last year’s offseason has been the Hall of Fame ballot. The reason this class is different than all the others is because one of the best baseball players to ever live appeared on the ballot and he received a sorrowful 36.2% of the 75% needed to be inducted. That man’s name is Barry Bonds. Bonds played seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and fifteen seasons with the San Francisco Giants. He is one of the most polarizing and controversial players in the history of the game. By just looking at his statistics, Bonds is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the top five players to ever put on a uniform. As we all know, there is one roadblock keeping Bonds from Cooperstown immortality and that’s the issue of performance enhancing drugs. Bonds played in an era where steroids were all-too-common and he has been made the poster boy for one of the darkest periods in the history of the game. In my opinion, Bonds should still be inducted into the Hall of Fame and here are five reasons why:

1. Bonds’ numbers were like no other. He had a career on-base percentage of .444 and a career slugging of .607. Both of those would be MVP numbers for any single season, and he averaged it throughout his career. In 2001 he peaked with a .536 ISO and broke the single season homerun record with 73. He also compiled a 164.1 fWAR and had a 173 wRC+ throughout his career. All of those astonishing feats and it doesn’t stop there. He is the only player in the 500 stolen base/500 homerun club and from 2001-2004 Bonds didn’t have a batting average under .325, an OBP under .515, or a SLG under .745.

2. Nobody knows who did or didn’t take steroids during that period. Sure, the evidence against Bonds is compelling and truth be told he probably took them knowingly, but I’m not ready to exclude someone from the Hall of Fame because of a probably. Also, what about the pitchers throwing to him that could have been using steroids? What about the fielders who were faster and stronger to catch fly balls and make the otherwise impossible plays? It is absurd to penalize one player because he happened to be better than everyone else.

3. Why decide to let him keep his awards and keep his name in the record books, but not put him in the Hall of Fame? In my opinion, it is hypocritical to say he is still a seven-time NL MVP, the homerun king, and the all-time walks leader, but say he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame because of steroids. If you’re going to penalize him for one thing, why not penalize him by taking all of his awards away?

4. What is the criteria for being a Hall of Famer? Is it Bonds’ treatment of the media, which we all know to be pretty harsh at times, or was it how he performed between the lines? Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is not earned by being nice or being everyone’s favorite player, it is awarded by being one of the best players on the field. If people want to exclude Bonds because he cheated and is a bad guy, then why not exclude Ty Cobb, who confessed in his autobiography that he may have killed a man during his playing career? Excluding Bonds because of his character, or lack thereof, is too much of a gray area to make a legitimate decision.

5. In my opinion this point is often over-looked and that is that Bonds already had Hall of Fame numbers before he allegedly started taking steroids. It is said that Bonds began taking steroids in 1998 after he switched trainers. Before then he already had 411 homeruns, a .408 OBP, and a 99.2 fWAR.

Love him or hate him, in my opinion to exclude a rare talent like Bonds from baseball’s highest honor would simply be a travesty. I believe, for the Hall of Fame to remain credible, there must be a plaque bearing the likeness of Bonds.

Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!

~Randy Boyles

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Why The Giants Should Have Signed Corey Hart Over Michael Morse

Posted on December 19th, 2013 by admin in SF Giants Rumors

 

Image used under Creative Commons from Steve Paluch

Image used under Creative Commons from Steve Paluch

I wrote an article a couple months ago and mentioned that the San Francisco Giants signing Corey Hart would have been a bright move given he is coming off an injury and he has tremendous potential. Impact of this means the Giants get a good player for less money. The injury while major was not career threatening and every indication is that Hart will make a full recovery. He is currently 31 years old and the Seattle Mariners inked him to a one year contract for $6 million. The Giants recently signed Michael Morse to a one year contract for $6 million.

While both are capable of hitting 30 or more home runs, something the Giants can definitely use since their left fielders only hit 5 last season, and only one has shown he can play every day. If the Giants have any desire to improve on that home run total they should have signed someone who can play more than 80 games a season. That means Hart, not Morse.

Hart has been much more successful because he has managed to play, in nine years each Hart has played in 945 games and Morse has played in 573. Hart has twice as many career home runs and RBI’s in the same number of years playing (it should be noted that in Hart’s first year he played in only one game). Both are capable of giving Brandon Belt a rest at first base which is an upside and gives leeway in trading Brett Pill to an organization that can give him the break he deserves.

I guess for my money, I would have taken the chance on Hart over Morse especially even money.

 

Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!

~Chris Brown

 
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Why Signing Michael Morse Was A Good Signing

Posted on December 19th, 2013 by admin in SF Giants Rumors
Image used under Creative Commons from Keith Allison

Image used under Creative Commons from Keith Allison

Power is a good thing. In sports, it can be the best of things. In football you have powerful linemen mauling their opponents. In basketball you have a vicious slam dunk that can rattle the rim, and the other team’s psyche as well. Hockey, with a powerful slapshot, can send shivers up the spines of all who witness it. In baseball, there is the power hitter. Nothing captivates fans, and builds confidence like a monster home run to break open a game.

 

Welcome Michael Morse to the San Francisco Giants. They have looked for someone like you for a few years now. Actually, it really goes back to when Mr. Barry Lamar Bonds was consistently hitting splash balls in to McCovey Cove.

 

Now we know the Giants have won two World Series without a true, pro-typical power hitter, but that was then; and this is now. Pitching still wins championships, and hopefully the Giants stellar rotation and bullpen can again lead the way. But there is no denying the Giants were sorely in need of a force in the middle of their lineup.

 

Morse’s stats, from his last full regular season in 2011 for the Washington Nationals look like this: 146 games played, a .303 batting average, 31 home runs, and 95 runs batted in. 2012 and 2013 saw a drop off in games played and production for Morse, mostly due to injury, but the Giants are counting on a healthy Morse to again fill the left-field spot in the batting order with home run power.

It was essential for the Giants to get more power their lineup in 2014. Just looking at the teams in NL West, it’s obvious the Giants were behind the rest of the division in this all important aspect.

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers can trot out Yasiel PuigMatt KempHanley Ramirez, and Adrian Gonzalez each game. The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired slugger Mark Trumbo this offseason to go alongside Paul Bunyan (Paul Goldschmidt). The Colorado Rockies acquired former home run derby participant and all-star Justin Morneau this offseason to go with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos GonzalezEven the San Diego Padres have decent power with Will Venable and Jedd Gyorko, who both hit over 20 home runs last year.

 

Adding Morse to the middle of the lineup will give the Giants a boost of right handed power hitting they were in search of. Now, looking at the power hitters in the batting order, the Giants will have Buster PoseyPablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence, and Morse to play long ball with.

 

Yes Morse may strike out a more than a few times. You can even make an argument that the Giants paid too much for an oft injured player looking to regain his form. But the rewards of adding Morse far outweigh the risks.

 

Power can do a lot for a lineup. It can be a fear factor that makes opposing pitchers aware of the long ball threat. Other hitters in the lineup benefit by seeing better pitches, and quite frankly, will be pitched to more because of Morse’s presence.

 

Let’s face it, hitting singles and doubles, and playing station to station baseball can be an effective, winning formula. But it lacks the sizzle that puts fans in the seats, and the allure to stay in their seats one more batter before going to get another tray of garlic fries.

 

Singles and doubles typically don’t make the other teams pitchers and managers worry very much when the on-deck hitter has three home runs, it’s late August, and the Giants have two men on base and are down by three in the bottom of the ninth inning.

 

The long ball cures a lot of ails, and hopefully the Giants have cracked the code for another year of success and a run at the World Series; and that could be because of the Morse code.

 

Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!

 

~Amin Arikat

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SF Giants Rumors: Morse, Belt, Mulder, Carignan, Ishikawa, Etc.

Posted on December 18th, 2013 by admin in SF Giants Rumors
Image used under Creative Commons from MudflapDC

Image used under Creative Commons from MudflapDC

With the Michael Morse deal now official our left field position is set, and we all know he can play some first base as well. Manager Bruce Bochy has went on record saying Brandon Belt is the first baseman, and also his number three hitter in the lineup. However, he could envision Belt/Morse swapping positions if Morse legs are sore says Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).

 
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com (via Twitter) says he was told that Morse will make $6 million with another $3 million possible in incentives based on plate appearances. If Morse can get back to his 2011 form (.303, 31 homers and 95 RBI), this deal will definitely be worth the $9 million (added incentives).
 
For those of you fans that were hoping for another big splash this offseason, it’s not going to happen. Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News chimes in on the Giants budget (via Twitter), and reports that GM Brian Sabean said the Morse deal “puts us up against our number.”
 
In another Pavlovic tweet, he says the Giants checked in on pitcher Mark Mulder, but Mulder’s looking for a more than they could offer. He’s looking for a major league contract. I’m not sure Mulder’s going to get that anywhere since he’s been out of the game for a bit (last game was in 2008). However, I do wish him luck with his comeback!
 
Since we’re on former Oakland Athletics that are linked to the Giants, pitcher Andrew Carignan has tweeted that he’s coming back to the bay area and it’s not with the Athletics. He’s excited for his opportunity with the Giants, so it sounds like he’s signed a deal with the Giants. I’m not sure on the specifics as of yet…
 
Ex-Giant Travis Ishikawa has signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. This is Ishikawa’s fifth team since the Giants says John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
 
The San Jose Giants have extended their lease through the 2018 season to continue to play at Municipal Stadium. Nice to know we can still continue to go check out our farm system and top prospects as they make their way through San Jose.
 
Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!
 
~Steven Robles
 
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More Insights On Outfielder Michael Morse

Posted on December 16th, 2013 by admin in SF Giants Rumors
Image used under Creative Commons from Keith Allison

Image used under Creative Commons from Keith Allison

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the San Francisco Giants signed outfielder Michael Morse to a one year, $6 million contract on Thursday. He was signed to man left field and most likely play every day if he’s healthy. The 31 year old is entering his tenth year as a major leaguer and is known for his serious power. Given the Giants lack of power, Morse could provide a boost to the Giants’ lineup. 

 
Although Morse has home run power, there are some concerns about Morse that raise some red flags. One thing is his injury history. He only played 88 games in 2013 due to a strained right quad and a fractured finger. He has only played one full season in the majors and that was 2011 when he played 146 games with the Washington Nationals. 2011 was the best year he has had in the major leagues. He had a slash line of .303/.360/.550 while hitting 31 home runs and compiling 95 RBIs. The more detailed stats also show just how good a year he had offensively. He had a 148 wRC+ and a .390 wOBA. His defense leaves a lot to be desired and his baserunning is not his strong suit either, having stolen only six bases in his career and being caught six times. Morse had a poor 2013 while playing for the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles and hit .215/.270/.381, which obviously leaves a lot to be desired. The Giants signed Morse to replace 29 year old weak-hitting outfielder Gregor Blanco. Blanco is pretty much the opposite of Morse. Blanco is fast, plays excellent defense, and has very little power. He has 66 stolen bases in his short career and 40 of them coming in the last two years with the Giants. The Giants acquired Blanco in 2012 and he has been the starting left fielder the previous two seasons. In 2013 Blanco had a slash line of .265/.341/.350. His OBP is solid, but that slugging percentage is woeful. Blanco compiled a respectable 2.8 fWAR last year and a 2.3 fWAR the year before. Morse had a 3.1 fWAR in his most productive year, 2011. To make a long story short, Morse needs to return to his 2011 form to be worth replacing Blanco as the Giants left fielder.
 
Don’t forget to visit our SF Giants Rumors Facebook page to share your thoughts on all the latest Giants News/Rumors!
 
~Randy Boyles
 
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