I’m not even sure how to begin this post because the sheer absurdity of the Matt Morris trade is still swimming around in my head. It’s probably unwarranted to an extent, but Matt Morris had quickly climbed my chart of most annoying Giants. Not only was he causing waves in the clubhouse, he hit a wall in July which totally killed his trade value. For the month of July Morris had a 8.48 ERA to go along with 27 ER’s in 28.2 IP, that’ll sure kill your trade value. His WHIP is approaching 1.5
For the first half, Morris was doing it with smoke and mirrors. Tossing curveball, after curveball, and hoping for outs. I remained doubtful on Morris because of his lousy peripherals but hoped for the best in the face of statistical doom. The start that officially placed Morris on my hate-list was his last as a Giant against the Marlins. The Giants take the lead, Morris gives it back, the Giants take the lead, Morris gives it back.
Brian Sabean had to be shocked to find that a team was interested in Morris and furthermore, that team would take on his remaining salary, even his 2 million dollar bonus! Dave Littlefield hasn’t been the brightest of GM’s but this move has many around baseball scratching their heads. ESPN’s Jayson Stark has a nice, succinct, take on the deal, one of which he calls one of the five best at the deadline.
The Giants’ brass was sitting around its suite Tuesday morning, bemoaning the fact that it had no decent deals cooking whatsoever. And then, out of the blue, it happened. The Pirates called. And wanted Matt Morris. His 7.94 ERA since mid-June? Not a problem. That $9.5 million he’s owed next year (not counting his $1 million 2009 buyout)? Not a problem. And so they swooped in and finished off a deal for Morris minutes before the deadline — for a legit prospect (Rajai Davis), a second prospect to be chosen from an agreed-upon list and absolutely zero money changing hands. Well, it didn’t take long. For the next two hours, after people around baseball learned of this deal, they couldn’t stop calling, e-mailing and texting reactions that could probably be summed up with three succinct words: WHAT THE BX!GRZFDQ!!!!! Don’t get us wrong here. We love Matt Morris. Terrific guy. Has had a wonderful career. Should be a fine mentor to those young Pirates starters. But the Giants were just about begging teams to take Morris and offering to chomp big chunks of his money if they had to. Then this team going nowhere dropped out of the sky and took the man and the money. What a country. “That move,” said one incredulous front-office man, “is so far out of left field, it’s in the Monongahela.”
To find a team, and one on a budget at that, to take on your aging veteran RHP, fully pay his contract plus send a couple players back your way, is like finding all your socks that you’ve ever lost. At once. And the socks would be full of gold. And the gold would be magical. The end.
It just doesn’t make sense for the Pirates to do this deal but I’m not complaining. The Giants shed around 12 million this year and next for which they can use on the market. You really have to give Sabean some praise here, he can take the money saved on Morris and hopefully find something on the market. The Giants will have a lot of holes coming into 2008 and the extra money will be welcome.
The Giants also pick up OF Rajai Davis in the deal. Davis will be shuffled into the Giants collection of 4th OF’s (Lewis and Ortmeier). Davis looks like a speedy OF with a decent OBP. His career minor league line is (.305/.375/.407) with 251 career stolen bases. He’s not going to be considered a prospect because he turns 27 in October but he has the chance to spell Dave Roberts against LHP and help spell Old Man Bonds’ Legs. I’ve heard mixed reports of Rajia’s D, which range from excellent to poor. His defense could be his best asset to the team looking for a late innings replacement. Davis actually has a lot in common with Fred Lewis because they both are late bloomers that got into baseball later in life.
Here’s what BA said about Davis:
A natural center fielder, Davis, 26, runs extremely well and was leading the Triple-A International League with 27 stolen bases when he was recalled to the majors in June. A 38th-round pick in 2001, Davis already has beaten the odds by making it to the major leagues, but his defensive prowess–including a very strong throwing arm–and foot speed might allow him to stay there.
I love the idea of a speedy OF with a strong throwing arm that knows how to get on base. I’d like to see the Giants give Davis a few starts a week to see what they have with him. When’s the last time the Giants had a great defensive center fielder? The PTBNL won’t show up for awhile but it’s always a chance the Giants could get a semi-interesting low level prospect.
Have fun in baseball purgatory, Matt. Don’t eat too many pirogies or hang too many curveballs!
Comment Starter: Greatest trade ever or greatest trade ever?
Just a quick update here, thanks goes to Lefty for the heads up on this link. A article on SI.com details the top 8 prospects to change teams during this trading deadline. Rajai Davis comes in at 7/8 with the following praise:
Being able to get out of the Morris contract was enough for the Giants; landing Davis in the deal was icing on the cake. Davis has never gained praise for his tools, but with a consistent record of success, he is just as likely to be a successful leadoff man than current Giants outfielder Fred Lewis. Both players would be just as successful as Dave Roberts hitting atop the Giants order today, as Davis has shown good contact skills and a patient approach in the minor leagues. Davis lacks any upside but in an organization about to enter a rebuilding mode, swapping an overpaid Morris for a leadoff hitter-to-be is as good a move as can be made.
Thanks Lefty! Be sure to read his post on the Morris bon voyage.