Among Giants Targets: Morris and Sweeney

According to a SF Chron article, the Giants are pursuing Matt Morris and Mark Sweeney to fill, respectively, their starting rotation and 1B/OF LHH requirements. The article basically states that the Giants will not be pursuing any Boras clients, so that would mean that they would have no interest in A.J. Burnett, Jeff Weaver, Kevin Millwood, and Kenny Rogers.

Matt Morris is a RHP who has a career 3.61 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and .261 BAA. I was told he has an injury problem but that appears to be early in his career as he missed half of the 1998 season, all of the 1999 season, then only pitched in relief in 2000. But from 2001-2005, he has started, respectively, 34, 32, 27, 32, 31 games, and pitched 216.1, 210.1, 172.1, 202.0, 192.2 innings, which seems pretty sturdy to me.

My big worry right now is that he is coming off the three worse seasons of his career, his 28, 29 and 30 years seasons, so that doesn't bode well. At least 2005 was a better year than 2004, but it was still the second worse season, easily, in terms of ERA, BAA and HR. In addition, he has been giving up more hits (though concurrently less walks, so it evened out) while also striking out less.

Here are the stats. His h9 went from around 9 to 9.8, still good, and he has been around 9 all his career so maybe 2005 was just a fluke bad year. His BAA has risen steadily over his career, going from under .260, then jumped up the past two seasons to .266 and .276, respectively, reflecting his jump in h9. His hr9 was around .6 early in his career, but has been over the 1.00 acceptable level the past three seasons, with a horrible 1.6 in 2004. However, his walks have gone down, from around just under 3.0 to around the 2.0 level the past three seasons, so while he has given up more homers, he has given up less walks. However, his strikeouts have been going down as well, showing a definite curve up then down, going from around 6.0 k9 in his early career, jumping to around 7.5 k9 in the middle of his career, dropping back down to 6.0 k9 the next two years, then below acceptable level (which is 6.0 k9) to 5.5 in 2005. However, his walks have been dropping faster than his strikeouts, so his k/w ratio has risen from around 2.0 early in his career, then bounced around the 3.0 level the past four years. His WHIP has been steadily good his whole career as his walks dropped as his hits went up, so it has been around the high 1.2's during his career.

So Morris' hr9 and k9 are not acceptable but h9 is OK and w9 and k/w are very good and his WHIP has stayed OK. However, SBC should help dampen his hr9 and while his k9 is low, it was his first season and not terribly low. But that is a risk point to worry about, is 2005 an aberration or is it the start of the end?


Anonymous Lyle said...

I wouldn't mind Morris joining the staff as the #3 starter. He certainly isn't a long-term solution, but he should consume innings. And his HR allowed should go down a bit at PacSBCATTstick Park. His familiarity with Matheny would be a plus, and his "veteran" status would assuage Sabean. Assuming his price is reasonable (and his health is okay), I'd rather have him at SP and spend a bit more money on a 1B - although as has been pointed out by everyone, there ain't much out there, realistically. I really hope we don't pursue Weaver or Burnett. I'd take Millwood if the price weren't outrageous - but isn't he a Boras client? So that previous sentence is a non-sequitur. I'd be interested in a trade for Vicente Padilla or someone similar, but the problem there is: who do we give up? We aren't that strong, and if I were the Phillies I'd want more than just a reliever for him.
So, barring a trade, Morris sounds okay. I see him as a moderate upgrade on Tomko. But I wouldn't be devastated if we kept Tomko (at a reasonable price, again) and spent our available money on a slugging 1B. But I don't know who that would be.

Tue Nov 15, 06:30:00 AM PST  

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