Morse, Giants finalize $6 million, 1-year deal
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Manager Bruce Bochy went to his bosses and asked them to pursue Michael Morse. Meanwhile, the outfielder’s agent came to him with San Francisco’s interest and how it would be a great fit.
Morse sure thought so, too. And given his willingness to play on a one-year deal and perhaps try free agency again after next season, it worked out well for both sides.
The 31-year-old finalized his $6 million, one-year contract with the Giants after passing his physical Tuesday.
“This is a winning organization,” Morse said. “As a player your one goal is to win and win a World Series. Not only have the Giants won, they’ve won two in the last couple years. What other team would a guy want to play for, especially with Boch as the manager?”
Morse will head to spring training in February expected to become a power bat in the middle of the lineup and the team’s starting left fielder. That’s a spot general manager Brian Sabean and assistant GM Bobby Evans looked to upgrade after his club missed the playoffs one season after winning a second World Series in three years.
“In left field, this is a guy I really wanted. I told Brian that, and Bobby, ‘Gosh, if we can get this guy, I know he’s coming off some injuries, if he’s healthy he’s a presence in the lineup, power, which is what we need,’” Bochy said. “A guy who’s going to fit on this club very nicely.”
Morse can earn an additional $3 million in performance bonuses. He can play several positions and will give Bochy some flexibility in writing his lineup. Gregor Blanco, a regular last season, is set to move into a fourth outfielder role.
“We had a big need out in left field and we were looking for a right-handed bat and hopefully a power run-producing bat,” Bochy said. “I don’t think we could have found a better fit for our club. He’s somebody I really wanted and I know we did.”
Morse was traded from Seattle to Baltimore on Aug. 30. He missed time this year with a troublesome wrist, a broken right pinkie and strained right quadriceps before returning from the disabled list in late July.
The nine-year veteran batted .215 with 13 home runs and 27 RBIs in 88 games this year.
Now, he is eager to return to his top form from 2011, when Morse hit .303 with 31 homers and 95 RBIs for the Nationals.
“I think the 2011 season is something I can do,” he said. “That’s my big goal, to stay on the field. I know if I stay on the field everything else will fall into place.”
Morse’s agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, reached agreement on his deal last Thursday at the end of the winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
He will be part of an outfield featuring Angel Pagan in center field and Hunter Pence in right. Pagan received a $40 million, four-year contract last December, while Pence was rewarded with a $90 million, five-year contract before the season ended. He played every game this year.
San Francisco already has had a productive offseason. The Giants missed the playoffs one year after winning their second World Series championship in three years, and Sabean worked to keep his pitching staff intact.
“As everybody knows this offseason has been a hectic one,” Sabean said. “Our mission going into the winter meetings was to hopefully rectify our left field situation. I think we were very fortunate not only timing wise but we get a chance to sign Michael. He has experience in that position and brings power and production to a lineup that sorely needs it. From the standpoint of having a wish list and checking off boxes, this was a big opportunity for us we obviously couldn’t pass.”
Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong finalized a $5 million, one-year contract Dec. 4 to re-join a rotation featuring newcomer Tim Hudson, signed to a $23 million, two-year contract Nov. 19. Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum re-signed in late October for $35 million over two years, while lefty Madison Bumgarner and right-hander Matt Cain are already pitching on long-term contracts. The Giants also re-signed left-handed reliever Javier Lopez to a $13 million, three-year contract last month.
Right fielder Hunter Pence re-signed before the season ended.
“It’s more than I thought would happen for us as far as getting these guys done,” Bochy said. “I can’t say enough about the great job they’ve done in keeping our club not just intact, but I think we’re a better club in our depth.”
AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.