Early this morning Jim Bowden, former Reds and Nationals General Manager and current host on MLB Network Radio and ESPN Baseball Insider, gave his top 7 most underrated moves of the off-season (ESPN Insider Subscribers only).
In the top 7, he lists 2 moves made by the Giants and General Manager Brian Sabean. Bowden thinks that the second best move of the off-season, was the signing of RHP Tim Hudson. Bowden had this to say about the Hudson signing
Hudson, 38, is no longer an ace, but GM Brian Sabean isn’t expecting that after inking him to the two-year pact worth $23 million. Hudson’s season was cut short in July when he broke his ankle, but he had a 3.91 ERA in 21 starts and was generally reliable.
The Giants finished 13th in the NL in ERA in 2013, and Hudson will provide some much-needed stability in the middle of the rotation. Because it was a non-arm injury, Hudson should be 100 percent on Opening Day, and teams such as the A’s and Royals were also vying for his services.
I believe the Hudson signing was a great move by Sabean and will not only be a benefit on the field, but in the clubhouse as well. In August of 2012, Hudson had this say regarding struggling starter, and now teammate, Tim Lincecum
Just as a fan and a veteran of the game, you want to try to help out young pitchers. From the other dugout, it’s what I see. His stuff is good. He’s still 91, 92, 93 (mph), plenty to win in this league, especially with that changeup. He doesn’t have to make every pitch a swing-and-miss pitch. I was the same way when I was younger. You feel like a stud out there when people swing and miss. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve preached to our young guys that strikeouts are sexy, but outs are outs, man, no matter how you get them. It’s a lot cooler for me pitching in the seventh or eighth inning than it is going 5 1/3. Your manager likes it a lot more, too.
Comments like that is why I believe that Hudson will benefit the team, not only Lincecum but all the starters.
With the 6th most underrated move, according to Bowden, is the signing of new left fielder Michael Morse. Bowden had this to say about the Morse signing
Morse is just three years removed from hitting .303/.360/.550 with 31 homers for the Nationals, and he was off to a red-hot start in 2013 before a wrist injury crushed his power numbers for the second half of the year.
The Giants were in desperate need of power for left field and although Morse is a below-average defender, he should bring 25-30 bombs, and that’s a lot of pop for a one-year, $6 million deal. He’s also a great clubhouse presence and fan favorite and has that quiet swag the Giants like. Gregor Blanco can pick him up late in games for defense and give him rest against certain starters whom he struggles against, and Morse can also fill in for Brandon Belt at first base against tough lefties.
A few weeks ago when the Morse signing first happened, I had asked How Improved are the Giants After Signing Mike Morse? As I mentioned then, the one big question regarding Morse is health, having played 88 this past year due to a couple different ailments. As Bowden mention, Morse had some wrist issues this past season and for a power hitter than can be a big issue.
I love 2 these signings by Sabean and it is good to see that I’m not alone in this thinking. Yes there are injury concerns with both players, but what players don’t have concerns?
I would like to wish all of our loyal readers and fellow Giants fans a very Happy and safe New Year. Only about a month and a bit until we hear those words we wait to hear all winter, Pitchers and Catchers report.