Morris sat, looking almost giddy, talking with his agent Barry Axelrod before being introduced to his first new team since arriving in the majors. He quickly put on his jersey and thanked the organization for giving him a chance “Even though you didn’t know this was my first choice, but now you know.”
Giants General Manager Brian Sabean seemed even happier. “Simply put, Matt Morris is a winner,” he said about the signing. He said the Giants had been receiving favorable reports about him for a couple of years before this signing, and confirmed that Morris had been the most desirable acquisition for the Giants this season.
Morris, 31, joins a battery that already resembles the Cardinals of past years, including starting catcher Mike Matheny and relievers Steve Kline and Jeff Fassero. The deal is for 3 years and a guaranteed $27 million, with a club option for 2009, making Morris the only Giant currently signed past 2007. Morris will receive $5 million in 2006 and $9.5 million in both 2007 and 2008, and a $2 million signing bonus at the end of the deal. There is a club option for 2009 that's worth between $9 million and $11 million based on his performance over the contract. If the option is not taken, Morris will receive a $1 million buyout.
Sabean indicated that while this would not necessarily be the Giants last move, but it will depend. He penciled in Brad Hennessey as the 5th starter while saying they might look for “someone who lingers in the market or who isn’t tendered.” He also said the Giants would be interested in trading a position player for a left handed hitter or a pitcher. Rumors continue to abound about the Giants also trying to sign free agent Bill Mueller.
Both Morris and Saabean credited Matheny with having an influence in bringing Morris to San Francisco. “He’s a tremendous player, we’re great friends…It worked out great,” Morris said of him. He also had one observation about his new rotation mates, remembering “I know they beat me a couple of times.”
Morris has a career 3.62 ERA and 101-62 record, and won his career 100th came against the Giants last season. Morris had an operation to clean up his labrum in 2003 and struggled through most of 2004, putting up a 4.72 ERA while still going 15-10, but rebounded with a 4.11 ERA in 2005, including a 3.10 ERA before the All-Star break before tiring late in the season. Through his injury, Morris has still thrown 190+ IP 4 of the last 5 years.
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