12.12.2005

Giants sign Morris to 3 years/$27M plus team option 4th year

I think I've exhausted everything one can say about Morris. There are question marks. There are extenuating circumstances. He didn't pitch that bad in 2005's second half, he just wasn't as good as usual. Declining K-rate and K/W-ratio is scary.

Morris in the press conference said that the surgery after 2004 cleaned out things and he hadn't felt that good since he was in college. He loves the ownership, the team, the city, it was his "first" choice (well, when your choices are Rangers, Reds, Mariners, Dodgers, there's really only one choice if you are looking for a organization with a long term winning reputation looking to compete in 2006, and that's the Giants). Loves rejoining Matheny. Looks forward to tutoring Lowry and Cain and egging them on to outdo him.

Again, out of the available free agents, he's the best of the bunch in our price range (under $10M per year), by far. High risk, high reward, he could outpitch the Schmidt of pre-2005, he could match Schmidt of 2005. The more I look at his numbers, the more I think he would be closer to his former self than to the pitcher he was in 2004-2005. Still, we could be paying $9M for an average pitcher, which, while obviously not great, is not that bad given how much other teams are paying average pitchers, it was worth the extra $2M per year to try to catch lightening in a bottle.

Because if he is on and Schmidt is on, we would have a dual head monster on par with Randy Johnson/Curt Schilling at the D-backs. And the scary thing for Giants fans is that if Lowry could get consistent over a full season, he could also be a top of the line starter, making it a three headed monster. Lastly, Cain pitched as well as a top line pitcher during his short time with us.

Obviously fan hyperbole and wishful thinking, but I don't believe that all four will do it. However, to have four pitchers who have a realistic chance of pitching like a top of the line starter is a great comfort to me. I have been writing that the Giants need to have a stronger rotation in order to move deep into the playoffs, something akin to the Johnson/Schilling duo. I think we have a reasonable chance of having something similar in the 2006 season, and if we are really lucky, three such starters. And at worse, only one will pitch like an ace and the rest will pitch ordinarily.

So now we need a lefty power-hitting 1B to play with Niekro at 1B in a platoon or, better, take over the position full-time. And if we can upgrade on Feliz at 3B, all the better. I would be OK with Mueller at 3B as been rumored if the Giants can get a power lefty at 1B, else we shouldn't do it. Sounds like he probably will sign soon so they will have to decide soon whether they need him or not.

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