Contrary to conventional baseball wisdom, which would dictate that the San Francisco Giants could do better in left field than Michael Morse, I am going to suggest that not only did Morse do well for the Giants in 2014, he excelled, and Brian Sabean should not be so quick to let him go.
The biggest knock on Morse as an outfielder, is that his defense is not up to that of either Gregor Blanco or Juan Perez, and whereas that is undoubtedly true, when it comes to miscues committed in 111 chances in 84 games in left field, Morse committed a whopping two errors.
No, he is not as fast as either Blanco or Perez, but he doesn’t have to be. Ron Wotus, bench coach of the Giants, does an excellent job of positioning his outfielders so as to be able to take advantage of the hitters’ tendencies. Morse is not a gazelle in left field, but he’s no rhino, either.
What Michael Morse does bring to the banquet table, is his indomitable aura of strength, will-power and positive chemistry, which is such a huge component of all Giants’ teams.
Who needs The Hulk? The Giants are nothing more, nor less, than today’s superheroes.
Chemistry is not an overused term, to explain some nebulous occurrence. The bond that exists among this unique blend of Southern and Venezuelan players, is the stuff of legends. In a sport where individual statistics pay paychecks, Morse’s contributions
surpass those of his stats.
The team thrives on baseball, competition and humor, the more outrageous and fanciful, the better. Superman? The Hulk? The Giants, individually and collectively, are nothing more nor less, than today’s modern-day superheroes to millions of their fans. And Michael Morse leads the way.
Jul 22, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence (right) is congratulated by Giants left fielder Michael Morse (38) as Pence makes his way back to the dugout after scoring a run in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports
In 2014 he batted .279, with sixteen home runs, three triples, 32 doubles, and 61 runs batted in. He walked 31 times and struck out 121 times, in 482 plate appearances. He also scored 48 times. He is 32 years old, and he is a beast, a guy with arms that belong on a sumo wrestler.
When he steps to the plate, his presence is imposing. His ability to hit to the opposite field, as he did in the fourth inning, of Game Seven, of the 2014 World Series, in knocking in the deciding run of the Series, is peerless. The hit shattered his bat, but landed in shallow right field, and gave the Giants their Championship. He is just that kind of guy.
He played in 131 games in 2014 and suffered a late-season oblique injury, that limited his postseason play. But his role was never etched in concrete to begin with, starting some games in left field, giving way to late-innings replacements, or starting at first base, when Brandon Belt went down. And he did it all with humor, grace and style, accepting whatever role that was thrust upon by Bruce Bochy, and refusing to listen to criticism.
He was a huge asset for the San Francisco Giants in 2014, and would be a worthy contributor to the 2015 campaign. He does not have to play 162 games to make an impact. The way Bochy manages his players, he could work it so that Perez, Blanco and Morse shared time in left, while Morse could occasionally spell Belt at first. And then there is the designated hitter in American League Parks, a venue that continues to plague the Giants.
Sign Michael Morse to another one-year contract, keep this current Giants team intact, and spoil this ridiculous even-year pattern by going for all the marbles in 2015.
May the Morse Force be with the Giants, now and for at least one more season.