Saturday, December 24, 2016

Hot Stove Update: Giants Sign Morse and Ruggiano to Minor League Deals

The Giants reportedly have reached minor league deals with OF/1B Michael Morse and OF Justin Ruggiano.  Morse, who is well known to Giants fans is now 34 yo and has not had a productive season since his Giants stint in 2014.  It's a bit unclear what role Morse might play on the MLB club as his defense in LF was terrible in 2014 and cannot have gotten anything but worse in the intervening years. He has been injury prone his entire career and it's unclear if he has anything left in the body.  The bat has always been intriguing, though.  Personally, if he's auditioning for the starting LF or RH platoon for LF, I'd rather just go with Mac who is a much better defender and should provide as many or more dingers over the course of a season.  I know you have to have a backup plan, but I would consider Eduardo Nunez and Austin Slater to be more than adequate backups.

I've been intrigued by Ruggiano for a long time.  He also has been very injury prone, has played very little in the last 2 seasons and it's also unclear how much he has left in the tank.  He kills LH pitching and struggles against RHP's so he's probably strictly a platoon bat.  He's played some CF(although not well by UZR standards) as recently as last season and can at least play average D in LF, so that gives him a leg up on Morse in my mind.  I still think I would rather give the keys to LF to Mac and see what he can do with them, unless of course Mac gets injured in which case Ruggiano could platoon with a LH bat.  The Giants have a long history of signing players who perform particularly well against them. It is interesting that Ruggiano has taken Madison Bumgarner deep in each of the last 3 seasons(Thanks to Sean Bialaszek of Golden Gate Sports for that little tidbit).

At the least, these signings are clearly designed to put Mac and Jarrett Parker on notice that the LF job won't be handed to them in spring training.  They both better come to camp ready to play and produce.


The Angels agreed to terms with FA OF Ben Revere on a 1 year/$4 M contract.  Revere had a rough season last year with the Nationals as he suffered an oblique strain out of the gate and never got traction on the season.  He's just 29 yo and a great bet to bounceback.  Very low risk contract for the Angels here with a lot of upside.  He'll likely start out the season platooning with Cameron Maybin in LF.

With an OF of Revere/Maybin, Trout and Calhoun plus a middle IF of Andrelton Simmons and Danny Espinosa, the Angels should have one of the best fielding teams in all of baseball.  Whether they have the pitching or hitting depth to make that pay off is an open question.


  1. Not sure about Morse, but if Ruggiano can be healthy and stay healthy, he could be a great backup (or regular) in LF, as long as he lasts.
    But that's a colossal IF! It would be a plus for him to get through Spring Training. 2 chances: slim and none.

  2. Morse was 'ok' 1B for the Giants. Defensively he didn't bring anything negative, but also nothing positive defensively. In LF he was -10 DRS in 579 innings after being -14 DRS in 580 innings the year before. We're talking Matt-Kemp-bad numbers if you project him out to a full-time starter. So I'm not sure his potential offense is worth anything more than the minor league contract he got considering how shaky his defense has been through the later part of his career.

    As for Ruggiano, I really don't know anything about him. Beyond what I read after you made this post. I'm guessing, from the stats, that at least he can play a reasonable level of defense and hit lefties in his platoon splits. Which would be useful against the Dodgers.

    As for the Angels... Yeah, they're seriously desperate for pitching.