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Giants tie bow on Meetings with Morse acquisition

GM Sabean continues to fortify club while protecting highly-regarded prospects

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Giants have been doing some freewheeling dealing this offseason.

Their agreement with outfielder Michael Morse on a one-year contract Thursday as the Winter Meetings concluded sustained a pattern that general manager Brian Sabean has welcomed. Acutely aware of the Giants' needs, Sabean has received the blessing of upper management to make the moves he sees fit to help the club improve upon its 76-86 finish last year.

Thus the Giants have spent approximately $170 million on extending the contracts of right fielder Hunter Pence, right-hander Tim Lincecum and left-hander Javier Lopez while signing two free agents, right-hander Tim Hudson and Morse.

Sabean felt compelled to thank the franchise's hierarchy for granting him spending flexibility.

"I feel very fortunate that ownership was so proactive," Sabean said. "I don't remember many teams spending like we did before players hit free agency."

This enabled Sabean to fill the club's needs without having to trade a single player, though other teams hoping for a fruitful trade asked him about the availability of numerous prospects.

San Francisco's covetous rivals employed common sense and mostly ignored right-hander Kyle Crick, aware that the Giants wouldn't jettison the organization's No. 1 prospect. But Sabean heard -- and spurned -- plenty of proposals involving many of the Giants' other promising pitchers who are a year or two away from reaching the Majors. The group included Edwin Escobar, Chris Stratton, Adalberto Mejia, Clayton Blackburn and Ty Blach.

"We're not going to randomly trade from the surplus we have," Sabean said.

Nor will the Giants part easily with Hector Sanchez, whose basic profile -- he's a 24-year-old, switch-hitting catcher -- makes him a valuable commodity, almost regardless of his performance.

"He's been one of the most asked-about guys, which is good," Sabean said. "People look at him as a potential frontline catcher."

Deals done: Agreed with Morse on a one-year contract that includes a base salary reportedly worth $5 million.

Rule 5 Draft activity: The only move involving the Giants was Toronto's selection of right-hander Scott Shuman in the Triple-A phase of the Draft. Shuman had no record and a 9.51 ERA in 28 relief appearances for San Francisco's Double-A Richmond affiliate last season.

Goals accomplished: Morse's acquisition gives the Giants a right-handed-batting complement to share left field with left-handed-batting Gregor Blanco.

Unfinished business: The Giants have only one item on their shopping list -- a right-handed veteran or two who can stabilize the bullpen.

Team's bottom line: "As long as we have opportunities to discuss ways to improve the club, we try to stay engaged. Our phones don't go off."
-- Assistant general manager Bobby Evans.

Chris Haft is a reporter for Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat.
Read More: San Francisco Giants, Michael Morse