Looking to get his career back on track following a terrible season split between two teams, Michael Morse has agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants.
Morse got off to a great start this year, but then hit just .201 with five homers and a .584 OPS in 64 games after May 1 while missing time with a wrist injury. Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that the Giants have promised Morse the everyday job in left field, which means Gregor Blanco is headed to the bench in a power-for-defense swap.
If healthy Morse is a good bet to bounce back at age 32, although he’s always going to be a brutal defensive player who gives back a lot of runs with his glove. However, from 2010-2012 he hit .296 with an .861 OPS in 346 games for the Nationals, averaging 30 homers per 150 games.
UPDATE: Buster Olney of ESPN.com says Morse will get $5 million in guaranteed money, plus incentives. So it sounds like a similar, but slightly lesser deal than Corey Hart got from the Mariners.
Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.
This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.
Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.
Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.