The Giants are “finalizing” a minor league contract with right-hander Bryan Morris, GM Bobby Evans told reporters (including Janie McCauley of the Associated Press). Amusingly, the news was officially broken by Mark Melancon, as the new Giants closer off-handedly mentioned Morris being part of the club during a conference call with the media on Tuesday. Morris’ contract contains an invitation to the Giants’ big league spring camp, and SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reports that Morris will earn $1.25MM if he reaches the majors, plus up to $750K in further incentives.
Morris, who turns 30 in March, had a 3.06 ERA over his first 17 2/3 innings of the 2016 campaign before undergoing season-ending back surgery in June. The Marlins outrighted Morris off their 40-man roster in late September and he chose to become a free agent.
Over five seasons and 215 career relief innings with the Marlins and Pirates, Morris has posted a 2.80 ERA and a whopping 58.6% ground ball rate that has helped outweigh his rather pedestrian strikeout (6.4 K/9) and walk (3.77 BB/9) totals. ERA predictors haven’t been so high on Morris, though he shown a knack for inducing soft-to-medium contact on all those balls put into play. If he regains his old form in the wake of his back surgery, Morris could be a nice bargain signing for the Giants, particularly since their outstanding defense is a particularly good fit for Morris’ grounder-heavy game.