The San Francisco Giants' outfield will have a little bit different look in 2015. With the departure of slugger Michael Morse, the Giants decided to fill his void with a significantly different player. San Francisco announced the signing of Nori Aoki to a one-year deal with a club option worth $4 million for next season and includes a club option with a $700,000 buyout.
Aoki and Morse couldn't be more different in terms of skill-set. Morse is a traditional corner outfielder with power, but not much speed and lots of strike-outs. The right-handed hitter connected for 16 homeruns for the Giants last year and had an 811 OPS, but he also struck-out 121 times and walked only 31 times. Aoki has never struck-out more than 55 times in any of his three MLB seasons. He had a 43:49 BB:K with the Kansas City Royals last year. However, he homered just once and had a .360 SLG and a 710 OPS.
Aoki should bring some speed and on-base abilities to the top of a revamped Giants' line-up that has had to replace two middle-of-the-order bats this off-season (Pablo Sandoval being the other). Aoki struggled defensively in right field with Kansas City last season, but he will be in left field with the Giants. Aoki has played in 18 games in left field in his MLB career.
It has been a relatively quiet off-season thus far for the Giants, who struck-out in an attempt to re-sign Sandoval and bring aboard free agent starter Jon Lester. They did acquire third baseman Casey McGehee in a deal with Miami to replace Sandoval and they re-signed free agents Jake Peavy and Sergio Romo. But compared to the wheeling-and-dealing winters of NL West rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres, the Giants have been under-the-radar. With top starters James Shields and Max Scherzer remaining on the free agent market, there is still time for the Giants to make a splash.