Krukow: Giants bringing back Morse smart for more than just his bat

Krukow: Giants bringing back Morse smart for more than just his bat

As the heavy lifting appears to be over for the Giants this offseason, the team did sign an intriguing name in former 2014 postseason hero Michael Morse to a minor-league deal on Friday

The front office hopes Morse can still provide pop when called upon after hitting 16 home runs for the Giants the last time they were World Series champs. Since then, he has only hit five in the last two years, none coming in the 2016 season. But, Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow is a big fan of the signing for much more than Morse's bat. 

“I think he’s a guy that is going to stay in the game,” Krukow said to KNBR on Morse coming back to San Francisco. “I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be a great coach and even a manager at some point in his career. To bring a guy in at the end of his career, even if he doesn’t help you that particular season, he’s going to help you with your organization. So I think it’s a good add.”

The Giants also added veterans Jimmy Rollins and Justin Ruggiano to minor-league deals. For Krukow bench depth in the end can be the key to another ring. 

"I think it's a great thing to be able to bring in experience if it's going to be on the bench," Krukow said. "You have to have guys with experience off the bench. They're the difference makers and they will win you games in the long haul."

While all three will compete for roster spots in spring training, if they make the team or not, Krukow sees on positive effects for the rest of the squad from being around guys that have been around the game. 

“I don’t know if all three of those guys are going to make the club coming out of the spring, but even if they don’t make the club, they’re going to have a positive effect on everybody that does. 

“There’s so much that you can learn from a veteran player and all three of those guys have good things to say about their position, about how to be a pro. So I love it.”

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte died early Sunday from a traffic accident in his native Dominican Republic.

Metropolitan traffic authorities say Marte died when the Mercedes Benz he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.

Marte, a 33-year-old infielder, played for several Major League teams, including Atlanta, Cleveland and Arizona, and was most recently playing in the Korean league.

Marte was playing in the Dominican winter league with the Aguilas Cibaenas team.

"We have awoken this Sunday with this sad news that we have lost a special being," club president Winston Llenas said in a statement about Marte.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the final month of his time with the Giants, it became clear that Santiago Casilla and the team would part ways. On Friday, Casilla confirmed that he never had the opportunity to return. 

On a conference call to announce a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s, Casilla said he “would have been happy to return to the Giants, but I never got an offer from them. I understood.”

Casilla said he had several opportunities to go elsewhere and close, mentioning the Milwaukee Brewers as one interested team. Casilla signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the A’s, who likely won’t need him to pitch in the ninth. The Brewers went on to bring in Neftali Feliz for one year and $5.35 million; he is expected to close. 

“I preferred to return to the Athletics because that’s where my career started,” Casilla said through interpreter Manolo Hernández Douen. “And I’m very excited.”

Casilla spent the first six years of his career with the A’s before crossing the bridge and becoming a key figure in three title runs. In seven seasons in San Francisco, he posted a 2.42 ERA and saved 123 games. Casilla had a 0.92 ERA in the postseason, but he was stripped of a prominent role in the weeks leading up to the 2016 playoffs. 

Casilla, 36, blew nine saves before being pulled from the ninth inning. He appeared just three times in the final 14 regular season games and just once in the playoffs. He did not take the mound in Game 4 of the NLDS, watching as five other relievers teamed up to give back a three-run lead. 

That moment stung Casilla, and it affected Bruce Bochy, too. The Giants struck quickly in December to bring Mark Melancon in as their new closer, but at the Winter Meetings, Bochy said he would welcome Casilla back in a setup role. 

“He’s a great team player (and) teammate,” Bochy said. “(I) certainly wouldn’t rule it out because he still has great stuff. And he had some hiccups there in that closing role, but I would take him anytime.”

As it turned out, that opportunity was never there for Casilla. The Giants didn’t make another move after the big deal with Melancon, and they’ll rely on younger arms to record most of the outs in the seventh and eighth. Casilla said he’s not bitter about the way it all ended. 

“I have left that in the past,” he said. “It’s a new year, it’s a new year. I have left this in the past.”