Yokoso, Nori Aoki!

The Giants finally made a move to do something about the left field hole.  WHEW!  They signed Nori Aoki from the Royals to a 1 year, $4 million deal, including $1.5 million in performance bonuses and a club option for 2016.  He hit .285 last year, had 1 homerun, 17 stolen bases, and only struck out 49 times in 491 at bats.  He’s the typical Sabean acquisition – not a ton of power, but solid.  He didn’t do so hot in the postseason for the Royals, but hopefully the change of scenery to our wonderful City will do him some good when we reach the playoffs this season (positive thoughts to break that even year streak!).  I remember hearing that he sometimes takes an interesting path to balls in the outfield, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that.  But remember, we had Michael Morse in that spot last season, so he has to be better (sorry, Michael).  I love this guy already.  According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Aoki was offered multi-year deals for more guaranteed money elsewhere, but he chose the Giants for the city, to be a contender, and for playing time.  Glad he wants to be here.  He becomes only the 5th player born in Japan to be a Giant (I was surprised by that one).  Yokoso (welcome) to the team, Nori!!  One less thing to worry about!  Now it’s just the pitching!

Three of my boys have gone into arbitration.  This includes Brandon Belt (wants $4.5 million, got a $3 million offer), Brandon Crawford (wants $3.95 million, got a $2.4 million offer), and Casey McGehee (wants $5.4 million, got a $4 million offer).  Negotiations will continue, but if they can’t come to a settlement, the next step is to go to an arbitrator in February, and the arbitrator will choose which of the two offers is most fair.  Just look at those numbers.  So much moolah right there!  Wonder who will win – the players or the management?  Will be interesting.  I wonder who usually wins.  Possible future blog topic!

Two others have avoided arbitration and come to a deal.  Yusmeiro Petit will be making $2.1 million next year – now that sounds like a deal to me!  Also Gregor Blanco was offered a 2 year, $7.5 million deal.  He had originally asked for $4 million, and the Giants countered with $3.3 million.  Wonder what made them up the ante?  So glad these two will be Giants next season.

Speaking of outrageous amounts of money, did you hear how much pitcher Max Scherzer of the Tigers signed for??  He got a whopping $210 million over 7 years from the Nationals!  Who can spend that kind of money?  It’s interesting that the money will actually be dispersed over a period of 14 years, with Max getting ONLY $15 million in each of those years.  But he could be retired after 7 and still make ONLY $15 million a year.  ONLY.   Pure insanity.  When is this ever going to stop??  Those salaries just keep spiraling every year.

The Giants also signed left-handed pitcher Travis Blackley to a minor league contract.  This is his third time signing with the Giants (he won a World Series ring with them in 2012).  What loyalty!  And he’s only the second Australian pitcher to ever play for the Giants.  G’day, Mate!  Welcome back!

Keeping with the international theme, the Giants held a private workout for Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada.  The infielder is only 19 years old and a switch hitter.  He is said to possess all 5 tools (meaning running speed, arm strength, hitting for average, hitting for power, and fielding) and is one of the most coveted international prospects.  You can be sure that teams with deep pockets are interested in him as well, so we’ll see what the final outcome is.  Will keep you posted.  Whoever takes him will have to sign him to a minor league contract, though, since he doesn’t have enough professional league experience.  Might be a sweet addition to our farm system, but I’m not sure the Giants will come up with enough dough to seal the deal.

I’ll end with a couple of fun links.  Here’s an interview with Matt Duffy.  I love how well-spoken and down-to-earth the kid is.  He gives some good insight into what it’s like to play in the post-season.  And here’s my boy George Kontos playing HOCKEY!  The kid’s not half bad!  And he’s such a cutie.  Glad he’s enjoying himself in the offseason.  And speaking of enjoying yourself, take a look at my boy Hunter!  He and his girlfriend Lexi have been streaming their video game play via Twitch.  He’s using the show to raise money for a couple he knows who were seriously injured in a car accident.  Love that boy!  I watched him and his friend play a dance game the other night.  Talk about hilarious!  He had some crazy moves!  Here’s the link to their Twitch feed – they are regularly on Tuesday and Thursday nights, but Hunter is playing Hearthstone:  Heroes of Warcraft tonight.  And here’s a sample of his awesome dance moves.  So much fun!

Also, the link to The Odd Couple show I put in my last blog featuring the relationship between Bruce Bochy and Tim Flannery was actually only a teaser.  The entire show is an hour long!  I couldn’t find a link, so I guess you’ll just have to find it on MLB Network (or wait until it makes its way to YouTube).  My brother Nick recorded it and says I can watch it with him sometime.  He’s such a good boy!

FanFest countdown is at 19 days!!!  Can’t wait!  I miss my boys so much!  Can’t wait to wear my new jersey, too!  Will keep my ears open for any news and pass it along to you.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

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