Giants Find Their Left-Fielder; At Least for 2015

On Monday, January 19, the San Francisco Giants finalized a deal with their 2014 World Series foes’ free-agent outfielder, Nori Aoki; for at least the 2015 season. Nori will get paid a base salary of $4 million in 2015, with a $5.5 million team option for 2016 that includes a $700,000 buyout. This new contract with the speedy outfielder also has performance bonuses attached to it in result of Aoki only appearing in 132 games last season, after playing in 155 in 2013 with Milwaukee. This will be Aoki’s third team in the last 3 seasons including 2015, but the Giants may finally be the fit for the Japanese veteran.

After dealing with multiple small injuries throughout the course of 2014 with Aoki, and the signing of Alex Rios, the Royals let Nori free into the market. Picking Rios over Aoki and the Giants signing Nori in return, works out in the favor of both 2014 WS teams. The Giants, however, are more familiar with their signing, as they competed against Nori Aoki in the World Series this past season. Secretly they might have been scouting the speedster, as it was quite obvious that the Giants were having issues filling the hole in left field.

Although Nori Aoki played right field in Milwaukee and Kansas City, his arm was never that impressive and the Giants already have a star right fielder in Hunter Pence. Because of the speed that Aoki has, left field will be the perfect fit for him in AT&T Park. The San Fran outfield will now have corner infielders in Nori Aoki and Hunter Pence, then either Gregor Blanco or Angel Pagan patrolling center. With the range that was seen multiple times during the playoffs, Aoki will certainly be a valuable piece fielding wise for San Francisco, but his bat is also a good reliable source.

Nori over his 3-year career in the MLB has produced a .287 batting average while having at least 536 at-bats/season that has helped him get at least 154 hits/year, in which 26 were doubles. His line-drive type of swing that produces tons of gapers will be a nice fit in AT&T, where the outfield is shaped into tight deep corners in right field, right-center field, and left field. The combination of Aoki’s speed and hitting consistency has helped contribute 83 runs/season for his team when healthy. So, the former Japanese player will be a major upgrade for the Giants in LF for the 2015 campaign, that will hopefully help the Giants get back to the Fall Classic to defend their title.


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