Justin Ruggiano has been a productive hitter when healthy. But, ay, there’s the rub: He’s almost never healthy. Just last year, the 34-year-old was on the DL twice for hamstring and shoulder issues, a problem that’s dogged him for most of his career, and, oh, who am I kidding, you’re here to read about Michael Morse.
Morse is back! Hunter Pence’s Sweetums-sized pal, postseason hero, and all around lovable lug Michael Morse is coming back to the Giants on a minor-league deal (first reported by Matt Eddy of Baseball America). As a baseball move, it’s not very exciting, considering that Morse will be 35 next season, was 0-for-8 last season before he was released, and that he was pretty lousy for the Marlins in 2015.
On the other hand, well, you know.
The odds that he makes the roster and contributes? Low. As low as you would expect from a 35-year-old trying to return after what amounted to a year off. But the risk is non-existent, which means part of the upside has already been realized: We get to think about an old friend. In the spring, we’ll think about him some more. Cool.
Ruggiano is probably the more exciting baseball move, as he’s a career .276/.332/.460 hitter (117 OPS+) who can play both corner outfield positions and first base. While he doesn’t have pronounced platoon splits, he’s a fine hitter against lefties, which is what the Giants will need next year. The only reason to be concerned with this move is if you thought he was already on the team. That was Chris Denorfia. I think.
While these moves shouldn’t make Mac Williamson or Jarrett Parker that nervous, it’s right-handed depth the Giants were lacking, and if one (or both) of them shows a quick bat and a clean bill of health in March, it could force them to make a tough decision.
[Chris Farley voice]
So, you, uh, remember that home run you hit in the NLCS?
That was cool.
Welcome back old friend, and welcome new friend. Morse almost certainly makes less baseball sense, but he comes with a side of feels. Ruggiano is a classic Giants bench signing, and if he can stay healthy, he can hit a lot more than a team should expect from a minor-league free agent. Good, fun moves all around, even if the chances are good that they won’t make a difference next year.
And you thought the offseason was boring.
Cody Ross is about the same age as these guys. Just saying.