SAN FRANCISCO—On Tuesday, January 20 the San Francisco Giants officially announced the signing of left fielder Nori Aoki.
Fresh off yet another World Series victory, the Giants have experienced a champions share of roster turnover. Franchise cornerstone Pablo “Panda” Sandoval and slugger Michael Morse have already departed via free agency.
In signing Aoki, the Giants have shown willingness to try a win with a different brand of baseball. Though Morse and Sandoval are hardly plodding, immobile players, neither bring the speed and versatility of Aoki, who can play all three outfield positions.
“Don’t get me wrong, I like power,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “But if you can’t get that right fit, the best way to go is to get a guy who is getting on base and can run. We got the best (OBP and speed) player out there, and I’m excited to have him.”
The Giants got a very close look at Aoki during the 2014 World Series, as the 33-year-old Japanese native was one of the Kansas City Royals’ heroes during their American League championship run.
Aoki, who served as the Royals leadoff hitter last season, came to San Francisco at the very affordable tag of $4.7 million guaranteed, owning a $5.5 million club option if they wish to retain Aoki’s services in 2016.