Brian Sabean and the San Francisco Giants found their left fielder for 2014 Thursday morning, on the last day of the Winter Meetings, and agreed to sign Michael Morse to a one-year, $6-million contract with incentives.
Morse combined to bat .215/.270/.381 with 13 home runs and 27 RBI in just 88 games last season for the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles. He battled injuries all season though and was a mere shell of the player that he had been with the Washington Nationals from 2010-2012.
Morse combined to hit 64 homers for the Nationals over that three-year span, and was a true power threat in the middle of their lineup.
If he can return to his prior form, Morse will be a nice addition to the middle of the Giants lineup along with Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence. His defense in the outfield is questionable at best, but he can also play first base and allow the Giants to move Brandon Belt into the outfield if necessary.
The Giants have toyed with the idea of moving Belt to the outfield this offseason, so such a move shouldn’t come as a huge shock if Morse proves to be a defensive liability in the outfield, costing the Giants more runs than he produces.
For now though, let’s assume that Morse will be the everyday left fielder. He should become a comparable player to what Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell were for the Giants in the outfield. If he can match their offensive production and play a passable left field, as they both did (let’s admit it, neither were great, but they weren’t horrible either), then this signing will look very good for 2014 with Gregor Blanco available as the fourth outfielder and as a late-inning defensive replacement.