Reds GM Walt Jocketty has two World Series participants on his list of free agent targets: 1B/OF Michael Morse (formerly of the Giants) and outfielder Norichika Aoki (formerly of the Royals), John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Jocketty prefers to add offense via free agency as opposed to making a trade.
Morse, 32, had another productive season for the Giants, hitting .279/.336/.475 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI in 482 plate appearances. During the post-season, Morse started only four games, but hit .300 with a home run and five RBI in 22 plate appearances as the Giants went on to win their third championship in five years.
Aoki, 32, batted .285/.349/.360 with 43 RBI and 17 stolen bases for the Royals during the regular season. In the playoffs, he hit .195 in 48 trips to the plate.
The Reds averaged the third fewest runs per game in 2014 at 3.67. They ranked ahead of only the Braves (3.54) and Padres (3.30), falling under the National League average of 3.95.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants have traded left-hander Matt Moore to the Rangers. The deal is pending a physical and has yet to be confirmed by the clubs. Shea adds that the Rangers are expected to receive several prospects in return.
Moore, 28, was brought over to the Giants in 2016 in a deadline swap for shortstop Matt Duffy and two minor leaguers. He went 6-15 in his first full season with the Giants, producing a 5.52 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 through 32 starts and 174 1/3 innings in 2017. Moore stands to earn $9 million in 2018 and has a $10 million club option (and $1 million buyout) on his contract in 2019.
According to both Shea and Henry Schulman, the move is part of the Giants’ ongoing quest to shed payroll this offseason. After missing out on Giancarlo Stanton, the club still needs reinforcements in the outfield and will have to fill a void at third base as well — all while steering clear of the luxury tax threshold. Right fielder Hunter Pence has reportedly been floated as a trade option, but has a full no-trade clause and will likely be harder to move. The Rangers, meanwhile, will add Moore to a starting rotation that already boasts left-handers Cole Hamels, Mike Minor and Martin Perez.