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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Monday, December 12, 2005

Giants - Signed Morris

San Francisco Giants - Have reportedly signed P Matt Morris to a 3-year deal worth a guaranteed $27 million.

Overpriced, but the Giants were rapidly running out of options in the free agent market.  As long as Barry’s on the Giants and healthy, it’s a good idea to overpay to fill holes - the NL West is a weak division and the Giants have just enough talent to win the division when they have Bonds.  It would be unreasonable to expect Matt Morris to be better than average at this point, but the Giants probably aren’t expecting Morris to be anything than an overpaid #2 starter ahead of Lowry and Cain.  The Giants’ success in 2006 will be determined by Barry’s attendance and performance.  Morris is a finesse groundballer nowadays (he’s never striking 185 out again) and even though the Giants’ infield isn’t as good as the Cardinals’, you don’t particularly want a flyballer, even with an actual centerfielder going into the season.  Bonds/Alou are not going to give many clincs at the corners.

Note to the Cardinals: This is not the best time to lose patience with Jason Marquis.  Please hold off until you guys finally land a pitcher that you’re going after.

2006 ZiPS Projection - Matt Morris
———————————————————————-
W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
———————————————————————-
11 12 31 31 190 199   91 24 43 122 4.31

 

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 12, 2005 at 07:08 PM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: December 12, 2005 at 07:48 PM (#1773917)
Meh. He will be better than Tomko, at least. Maybe.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 12, 2005 at 07:53 PM (#1773926)
Gints rotation is - Schmidt, Morris, Lowry, Cain, Hennessey, correct?
   3. 1k5v3L Posted: December 12, 2005 at 07:56 PM (#1773930)
He'll cost more than Tomko tho.

With the ancient infielders straining their hammies to reach for dribblers, I think the hit total will be higher. And I think his ERA has a very good chance to exceeding the 4.5 mark. With Alou and Bonds engaging in territorial pissings at the corners (one using his hands, the other his whizzinator), Morris will give up plenty of cheap doubles.

At least he'll save Sabean from having to worry about signing another draft pick. My guess is Sabes will call up a random high schooler's name at #10 (Kyle Drabek?) than take a nap until the Giants are drafting again in the fourth. Unless he's retired for the day, and given his current intern a list of funny sounding last names to call into the phone.
   4. 1k5v3L Posted: December 12, 2005 at 08:04 PM (#1773947)
By the way, Dan, no love for AZ's signing of Easley? I can't wait for your computer to go crazy and predict 37 homers for him in 348 at bats next year. Happened to Clark, right? Right?
   5. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: December 12, 2005 at 08:08 PM (#1773958)
levski, are you talking Damion Easley? Are the DBacks running Vallhalla for mid-90s Tigers down there? I guess it all started with Gonzo...
   6. 1k5v3L Posted: December 12, 2005 at 08:14 PM (#1773964)
First Gonzo, then Tony Clark... Now watch Easley win an MVP in Arizona.

He signed a cheapo one year deal so he can be with his buddy Tony Clark.

Since the Tigers made him rich, he could give AZ a hometown discount...
   7. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 12, 2005 at 08:14 PM (#1773966)
Gints rotation is - Schmidt, Morris, Lowry, Cain, Hennessey, correct?

That seems to be the plan.
   8. DCW3 Posted: December 12, 2005 at 08:22 PM (#1773980)
He's no longer that good, and letting him go was the right move, but as a Cardinals fan, I'll still miss him. I've watched more games started by Matt Morris than by any other pitcher, by a wide margin, and in the majority of those games he did a good job. I grew used to him, and to his mannerisms--I've never seen a pitcher who worked faster. Good luck, Matty. I hope you have a good year.
   9. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 12, 2005 at 08:59 PM (#1774068)
It will be interesting to see what Millwood winds up signing for. If it's only $1-2M more per year, then I have a hard time understanding why the Giants settled for Morris.

This signing fills a need for the Giants, but acquiring a guy like this to be a #2 behind Schmidt should have been something they did two or three years ago rather than have overpay for Rueter. Instead, the Giants will be overpaying a mediocre starter for next year (when their odds of competing are a little better than 50/50) as well as for two years when they probably don't have a prayer. Hopefully Sabean (or whoever the Giants' GM is then) will be able to flip him in the middle of 2007 or so for something that might help rebuild--assuming he hasn't lost all effectiveness or gotten himself seriously injured.
   10. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: December 12, 2005 at 09:17 PM (#1774099)
Hopefully Sabean (or whoever the Giants' GM is then) will be able to flip him in the middle of 2007 or so for something that might help rebuild--assuming he hasn't lost all effectiveness or gotten himself seriously injured.

When the Giants do have to rebuild, it is going to be uuuuggggly given Sabean's love for the draft. Of course, they could just go all big-market and sign FAs, but when Bonds is gone and everyone else on the roster is 40, they will have nothing to trade and the only young players will suck. I am scared.

The rotation will be Schmidt, Morris, Lowry, Cain, and Hennessey/Correia taking turns on the Fresno shuttle. Neither of the last two are very good, and that goes for AAA too. Hennessey seems to strike out more guys, but he only has three pitches and should probably be a reliever. Hennessey could find some magic with another pitch, but that isn't likely. Both of them are cheap 5th starters though.
   11. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: December 13, 2005 at 12:50 AM (#1774531)
Gints rotation is - Schmidt, Morris, Lowry, Cain, Hennessey, correct?

That could be a very good rotation. Schmidt and Morris are aces when healthy, though they have questionable health. According to Two Alous, Noah Lowry's career is on a positive ark and Matt Cain is an Abel pitcher. Hennesey is not very good, but not a liability either. The rotation depends on the health of Schmidt and Morris.
   12. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 13, 2005 at 12:58 AM (#1774540)
The rotation depends on the health of Schmidt and Morris.

Yep. And their offense depends on the health of Bonds and Alou. If all four can stay healthy and as effective, then the Giants are likely the team to beat in the NL West. Unfortunately, I think that they'll likely suffer at least one injury and/or one or more will decline by quite a lot. The end result will probably be a 75-85 win team--and probably finishes 5-10 games out.
   13. 1k5v3L Posted: December 13, 2005 at 01:02 AM (#1774544)
I will be shocked if Sabean stays on after 2006. Shocked.
   14. Flynn Posted: December 13, 2005 at 01:24 AM (#1774576)
I will be shocked if Sabean stays on after 2006. Shocked.

He's not been called on his errors by the press, so unless you know something I don't (probable!), I don't think so.

Sadly. :(
   15. DEFCON: jive. Posted: December 13, 2005 at 01:50 AM (#1774613)
Matt Cain is an Abel pitcher

Wait, so are you saying that Cain will be exiled and branded an eternal wanderer for slaying his talent? I think maybe you have him confused with Bruce Chen.
   16. Me And Willie McGee (Urban Bovine Knievel) Posted: December 13, 2005 at 01:56 AM (#1774620)
I second DCW3's thoughts on Matty Mo. He always seemed like a stand-up guy, and one who appreciated the breaks he was given in life. He was also pretty damn fun to watch in the late 90's and early part of this decade. I'll root for him almost all the time, and I think SBC will make him look as good as anywhere.
   17. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: December 13, 2005 at 02:14 AM (#1774634)
what is st louis rotation shaping up to be?
   18. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: December 13, 2005 at 02:18 AM (#1774638)
DEFCON, talk to Two Alous. He was the one that said "Matt Cain is an Abel pitcher." I was mearely quoting him.
   19. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 13, 2005 at 02:20 AM (#1774643)
Carpenter--above average
Mulder--slightly below average
Suppan--average
Marquis--slightly below average
Reyes--probably slightly above average

I actually like the Giants' rotation almost as well, provided Schmidt stays healthy; I'd rather have Lowry and Cain than Suppan and Marquis, or even Suppan and Mulder.
   20. Psychedelic Red Pants Posted: December 13, 2005 at 02:41 AM (#1774655)
Carpenter--above average
Mulder--slightly below average
Suppan--average
Marquis--slightly below average
Reyes--probably slightly above average


Isn't average for starting pitchers worse than average for relievers?

I ask because Carpenter, Marquis, Mulder, and Suppan all beat 100 ERA+'s (with the exception of Marquis, by 17 or more). None of those 3 project to much below 110, if at all, just using 3 year weighted averages, and I'd consider 110 comfortably above average. The cardinals should have a very good pitching staff next year. I'd certainly trade the Red Sox staff for the Cardinals Staff at this point. The cards had a 123 ERA+ as a team last year. Houston (118) was the only team within 10 in the NL.
   21. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 13, 2005 at 03:03 AM (#1774684)
Reyes--probably slightly above average

I think it's more likely that Reyes will be below average in '06. There's usually an adjustment period for rookie pitchers.

-- MWE
   22. Steve G. Posted: December 13, 2005 at 03:23 AM (#1774693)
Morris is a finesse groundballer nowadays (he's never striking 185 out again)


His 2005 G/F ratio wasn't that far removed from his career ratio (1.67), so it's not like there's been a transition of philsophies or anything like that. I think it's just a decline, accelerated by arm injury; his career trend in K/9 is certainly a bad omen for the Giants.

2001: 7.70
2002: 7.32
2003: 6.27
2004: 5.84
2005: 5.47
   23. Bangkok9 eschews 1 from Column A Posted: December 13, 2005 at 03:35 AM (#1774721)
Gints rotation is - Schmidt, Morris, Lowry, Cain, Hennessey, correct?

That seems to be the plan.


Other sources indicate the Giants are still looking for a cheap(-ish) proven #5.

This is a good signing. Morris should be a guy who can reliably take the ball 30+ times a year and get you to the 7th inning.

I have doubts that this will be his first losing campaign or his ERA as bad as these ZiPS sugggest.
   24. akrasian Posted: December 13, 2005 at 03:45 AM (#1774728)
Morris should be a guy who can reliably take the ball 30+ times a year and get you to the 7th inning.

I'm skeptical. His second half last season makes me think he was either pitching through an injury, or pitching with a fatigued shoulder. Neither would bode well for Morris over this contract.
   25. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 13, 2005 at 03:51 AM (#1774734)
Three year weighted projections based on ERAs or based on peripherals? Marquis is a disaster waiting to happen, and Mulder's K-rate decline over the past year and a half makes the three-year average for him useless. I hope I'm wrong, of course.
   26. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 13, 2005 at 03:52 AM (#1774737)
The Red Sox's staff, on the other hand, would be dynamite in the NL. Arroyo is basically Suppan, and Clement is an NL pitcher; good in the NL, bad in the AL, like Jeff Weaver and a lot of others, too.
   27. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 13, 2005 at 03:59 AM (#1774740)
Morris should be a guy who can reliably take the ball 30+ times a year and get you to the 7th inning.

While he might do well as a middle reliever, I really hope the Giants will let him start, even if it means he doesn't see the seventh inning all that often.
   28. The Underground Man Posted: December 13, 2005 at 04:02 AM (#1774745)
Anyone else curious about Morris' first half/second half splits? In the first half he looked like the Morris of old:

104.2 IP 96 H 6 HR 16 BB 73 K 3.69 RA

But in the second half...

88 IP 113 H 16 HR 21 BB 44 K 5.93 RA

I know splitting up the season in two halves is selecting arbitrary end points but if I'm a Giants fan I am worried I'm getting the Matt Morris of '04 and second half '05 and won't see much of the guy who earned the big contract.
   29. greenback calls it soccer Posted: December 13, 2005 at 04:03 AM (#1774747)
His second half last season makes me think he was either pitching through an injury, or pitching with a fatigued shoulder.

He was fatigued. He had shoulder surgery a year ago then came back too soon. Morris will pitch his heart out, but he takes DK's "never miss a start" thing way too far.

Marquis's peripherals will be fine if he stops throwing that mother curveball.
   30. Mefisto Posted: December 13, 2005 at 04:27 AM (#1774774)
You're a lot more optimistic than I am, B9. IMO this contract will make the one to Kirk Reuter look good. OTOH, if Morris gives us one good year AND we get lucky and win it all, then I won't worry about the rest of the deal.
   31. Andrew Edwards Posted: December 13, 2005 at 04:47 AM (#1774801)
I don't necessarily see why everyone jumps all over Sabean about his refusal to draft. Maybe he ran the numbers and found that for the price you pay to sign a first-round pick, and the relatively low success rate they have, it's just not worth it.

I haven't analyzed it or anything (maybe I should sometime), but I can imagine that at the very least models with a high discount rate could yield that result.
   32. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 13, 2005 at 04:59 AM (#1774817)
Listen to Sabean talk sometime... the only numbers he runs are lottery numbers.
   33. Psychedelic Red Pants Posted: December 13, 2005 at 05:36 AM (#1774863)
Three year weighted projections based on ERAs or based on peripherals? Marquis is a disaster waiting to happen, and Mulder's K-rate decline over the past year and a half makes the three-year average for him useless. I hope I'm wrong, of course.

Marquis is a clear 4 in that group, and I didn't cover him in my post. Rather, I meant the first sentence to separate Marquis from Carpenter/Suppan/Mulder. Mulder's K rate didn't drop any more than would be expected going from the AL to the NL. There's no more reason to worry about his 2006 than there was to worry about his 2005 or his 2004.

As for the Red Sox staff, well, their team ERA+ was 30 points below that of the Cards last year. While a good portion of that difference is defense, and the Red Sox staff has several pitchers likely to either improve dramatically (or collapse completely) next season. Much of the upside potential on the staff is offset by downside risk. I'd prefer the more risk-averse approach that the Cardinals take if I were running a team.
   34. danup Posted: December 13, 2005 at 05:37 AM (#1774865)
Marquis's peripherals will be fine if he stops throwing that mother curveball.

Exactly. When he started just throwing the fastball in August he stopped walking people, and turned into some weird version of Brad Radke or something.
   35. Gromit Posted: December 13, 2005 at 04:35 PM (#1775345)
With all the teams throwing $9 mil at average pitchers, the A.J. Burnett deal is looking better every day. I had to revise my thoughts about A.J with the B.J's
   36. JMoulton Posted: December 13, 2005 at 04:48 PM (#1775375)
And most of my fellow Cub fans were upset about the deal Rusch got. 8 or 9 million per year for Morris and only 2.75 for Rusch. I'll take Rusch thank you.
   37. The Balls of Summer Posted: December 13, 2005 at 04:56 PM (#1775389)
I will be shocked if Sabean stays on after 2006. Shocked.

He's not been called on his errors by the press, so unless you know something I don't (probable!), I don't think so.

Sadly. :(


I think Sabes is smart enough to know that this all blows up in his face in 2007. He's going to be looking for the exit.
   38. The Balls of Summer Posted: December 13, 2005 at 05:00 PM (#1775393)
don't necessarily see why everyone jumps all over Sabean about his refusal to draft. Maybe he ran the numbers and found that for the price you pay to sign a first-round pick, and the relatively low success rate they have, it's just not worth it.

I haven't analyzed it or anything (maybe I should sometime), but I can imagine that at the very least models with a high discount rate could yield that result.


There's an article over on Scout.com that was done about two years ago that took a look. It's actually a defensible strategy provided that you're clearly in a win-now mode.

Listen to Sabean talk sometime... the only numbers he runs are lottery numbers.

Right. What you say to the press is exactly how you operate. Just because that's the way Billy Beane rolls doesn't mean that how everyone does it.
   39. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 13, 2005 at 07:03 PM (#1775577)
Mulder's K rate didn't drop any more than would be expected going from the AL to the NL.

Why would we have expected Mulder's K rate to drop going from the AL to the NL? NL pitchers strike out a lot more batters thanks to the pitchers batting and even when you take out the pitchers, NL batters struck out once every 5.5 at-bats in 2005, compared to 5.7 in the AL.
   40. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 14, 2005 at 04:46 AM (#1776433)
I was puzzled by that, too...

As for Sabean, I'm talking more about the sound of his voice and the turns of phrase he uses than the actual content of what he says; it was sort of a joke.

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