Outsiders views of the Matt Morris acquisition

Eric Karabell Espn Insider: ‚Ä¢ Matt Morris to Pirates for Rajai Davis: Wow, I cannot contain my excitement over this deal. If I’m a Buccos fan today, it’s quite a day. Sigh. Matt Morris actually has the best record of any active pitcher at PNC Park, as he’s 6-0 lifetime in his new home stadium with a 2.37 ERA. Then again, Morris makes $10 million a year, the Pirates have the worst record in the NL, and has two wins since May 1. His July ERA is 8.48. The only pitcher in the great game of baseball who has allowed more runs than Morris in July is Mike Maroth. That’s it. So, no, I don’t think getting Morris saves the season for the Pirates.
Davis is a right-handed hitting center fielder who put up big stolen base numbers in the minors, but hasn’t been able to get on base enough in the majors. He has little power. The Giants aren’t going to simply sit any of their older outfielders in Barry Bonds, Randy Winn and Dave Roberts, but Davis could, in theory, steal some bases anyway.

Keith Law Espn Insider: Pirates clearly asleep at the switch
Another year, another bizarre acquisition by the Pirates. But while last year’s move to get
Shawn Chacon was puzzling, acquiring Matt Morris is inexcusable. The last thing the Pirates need is another starter who gives up more than a hit an inning, but they got one in Morris. And unlike their other hittable starters, he’s expensive. Morris is in the second season of a three-year, $27 million deal, so unless the Giants are kicking in some cash, he’ll take up nearly 20 percent of the Pirates’ payroll while contributing little or no value. To make matters worse, Morris has been pitching poorly of late, and he’ll no longer get the protection offered by AT&T Park to pitchers with fringy stuff.

There’s no justification for this trade — given how low the Pirates’ payroll is, they just handicapped themselves for the next two years and it’s not like they’re making a push for the pennant this year. The Pirates are going nowhere right now, and with this deal, they’re not going anywhere in the near future, either. The Giants get a fourth/fifth outfield type in Rajai Davis, but the big benefit to them is clearing Morris’ salary from the books for this season and next year, while also removing the temptation to pick up the club option on Morris’ contract for 2009. Davis is Joey Gathright with a little bit of plate discipline; he’s very fast but has almost no power. He’s a nice guy to have on the bench and is the type of guy a manager will overplay when he wants to “manufacture runs.” Saving $14 million or so on Morris is good enough, so adding Davis is just gravy for the Giants.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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