San Francisco Giants Sign Nori Aoki
The Giants today signed corner outfielder Nori Aoki to a one-year contract for a $4.7 million guarantee with a team option for a second season. This is certainly not a terrible move for the Giants, but it doesn’t address their need for a right-handed power bat to replace Mike Morse.
Aoki has a skill set very similar to Gregor Blanco, the only real difference being that in his three major league seasons, Aoki has a reverse platoon differential, recording a .776 OPS versus left-handed pitchers but only .726 against righties. Aoki has mostly played right field in his major league career, and has provided above-average defense at that position, so he can sub for Hunter Pence should the need arise.
Assuming that Travis Ishikawa returns as the Giants’ fifth outfielder and back-up 1Bman (the Giants have already signed him to a one-year deal for $1.1 million), the team is going to be awfully short of right-handed hitters coming off the bench. If the Giants open the 2015 season with three catchers, that would leave Andrew Susac and Joaquin Arias as the right-handed hitters available to pinch hit, which doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.