Editor’s note: Insider Andrew Baggarly chats from the Winter Meetings in Orlando Thursday at 12 p.m. right here
ORLANDO – The Giants fleshed out trade possibilities and scanned the shifting free-agent sands. But in the end, they came back to the most predictable name to fill their left field vacancy.
They agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Michael Morse, one of the better right-handed power bats on a relatively thin market. The deal is pending a physical.
[PHOTO GALLERY: The file on Michael Morse]
Morse gets a base of roughly $5 million with incentives, as Buster Olney of ESPN reported.
If Morse produces like he did in 2011 with the Nationals, when he socked 31 home runs and hit .303/.350/.550, you’d better believe he’ll be more than a platoon guy.
The Giants had to pledge him an everyday role to sign him, given interest from other clubs. The Houston Astros were in pursuit and might have had a higher offer in hand. Terms weren’t immediately available.
“Big, big thunder,” An AL scout texted me shortly after the deal was announced. “Between he and Pence, (batting practice) will be an electric show.”
Morse, who will be 32 on opening day, is a veteran of eight major league seasons with the Mariners, Nationals and Orioles. He’s coming off a down year in which he struggled with a wrist injury, hitting a career-low .651 OPS (.215/.270/.381) with the Orioles and Mariners. He still managed to hit 13 home runs in 312 at-bats.
Although he came up as a shortstop and has played all around the diamond, the Giants signed Morse to be their left fielder and nudge Gregor Blanco back to more of a true No.4 outfielder role.
Expect the Pat Burrell shuffle in a lot of games, with Blanco or perhaps Juan Perez replacing Morse when the Giants have a lead after six or seven innings.