And on January 8, 2013, there was fuel for the rosterbation fire.
Do not breath the fumes from the rosterbation fire. Please do not look directly at the rosterbation fire. Actually, we should probably get out of here. Especially that pregnant woman in the back -- good gravy, didn't you read the sign?
For the last, oh, month or so, there's been a dearth of possible roster moves for the Giants, which has made for one of the slowest offseasons in memory. Were the Giants going to sign Nick Swisher? No, the Giants were not going to sign Nick Swisher. Were the Giants going to sign Josh Hamilton? No, the Giants were not going to sign Josh Hamilton. Were the Giants going to sign Nick Swisher? No … dammit, I just told you that. And around and around it went.
If you're thrilled with a platoon of Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres, you probably didn't think the Giants had any possible moves to make. And if that's the case, you're probably more of a hockey fan. Hockey's back, you know. You can probably head on over to your normal haunts. I really didn't mind the smell of maple syrup and extra playoff teams, but I can't say I'll miss it. Because there's no way for a baseball obsessive to be thrilled about a Blanco/Torres job-sharing arrangement. Accepting, curious, okay with, not offended by … there are a lot of options. But there isn't really a way to be thrilled with the current setup.
There just wasn't a silver-bullet option. I would have rather had Cody Ross than Santiago Casilla when it came down to it, but there wasn't an obvious trade candidate out there after the sensible free agents were gone. Compared to the options out there, I suppose a Blanco/Torres platoon was pretty thrilling.
Now there's Mike Morse. The Nationals just signed Adam LaRoche for two years, which means they're overstuffed for this year.
Of note: Morse is eight feet tall, and he has the crazy eyes. He does this when he comes up to bat:
Angel Pagan can get the crazy eyes every so often, which means the Giants could have an outfield that's straight out of Clockwork Orange or something, drooging the place up and terrifying the normal folk. That's one reason to want Morse.
Another reason is for the headline puns. I know you're on this, MLB.com. Morse code … Morse the merrier … putting the WAR before the Morse … uh … alright, I think that's it. That's another reason to want Morse.
But the best reason is that he fits the roster. He's a right-handed hitter with power, which is exactly what the Giants could use in left field. He's due to make $6.75 million this year before he's a free agent, so there's a chance the Giants have already run into their self-imposed payroll cap. Maybe a good chance. As with Pence, though, I'd gather they would extend that a bit for the perfect fit. Which I'd gather is what Morse might seem like.
Disclaimer: He's a clomper. He was worth 0.6 wins according to Baseball Reference last year, even after accounting for his 112 OPS+. Don't go scurrying to FanGraphs for their WAR … it gets worse for Morse. And most of this has to do with his fielding. Clomper.
Another disclaimer: He's a hacker. Sixteen walks. Ninty-seven strikeouts. There isn't a magic total of at-bats or plate appearances that would make that ratio okay. If he were to hit directly in front of or behind Hunter Pence, you would throw your remote through the TV after back-to-back strikeouts on pitches in the dirt, possibly on Opening Day. Maybe even in Scottsdale. It would be frustrating.
A third disclaimer: If Morse were to join the roster, there probably wouldn't be room for Ryan Theriot to come back. I know, I know …
Fourth disclaimer: There might be a team out there that really, really wants Morse, and they might be willing to give up a heckuva lot for him. The Giants should not be one of those teams.
With all of that written, I still think it's worth the Giants' time to see if Morse can be the guy from 2010 and 2011, who hit .298/.357/.539, with 46 homers in 788 at-bats. They aren't going to have another chance to add a power bat this offseason, and I'd gamble that Morse's down year had to do with the shoulder strain that kept him out for two months to start the season. His power returned in the second half of the season if you're looking for selective endpoints, which I always am.
If there's a bidding frenzy, the Giants should slowly back away. If the Nationals demand someone like Kyle Crick or Clayton Blackburn, the Giants should quickly jerk out of the way. I'm horrible at fake trades, but I know whom the Giants shouldn't discard for a one-year flier. None of the top guys. Because you know who was more valuable last year than Morse? Both Torres and Blanco, and it wasn't really close. I can almost talk myself out of wanting Morse, especially if I'm expecting him to repeat his 2012.
I'd take a chance on the 2011 Morse, though, if the price were right. I'd take the clomping and the hacking, and I'd hope he could be a power bat to help make the Giants' lineup that much deeper. And if not, hey, don't forget that he could platoon with Brandon Crawford. I'm sure you'd hardly notice the difference in the field.
If it's a buyer's market, I'd hope the Giants are buying on Mike Morse. The odds of it being a buyer's market are pretty slim. But it's January. Let's talk about it. Or lunch. I'm waiting outside a courtroom right now, seeing if I'm going to be on a jury. We can talk about that, too.