According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the San Francisco Giants signed veterans Michael Morse and Justin Ruggiano to minor-league deals on Friday night. For Ruggiano, this will be the eighth organization he’s played for heading into his ninth professional season in 2017.
Ruggiano, 34, was drafted in the 25th round of the 2004 MLB First-Year Player Draft, and made his major league debut three years later in 2007 as a member of the formerly named Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
The right-handed hitting outfielder has made a career for himself with his solid splits against left-handed pitching, where he owns a lifetime .275/.338/.527 slash line, with 27 of his career 51 homers coming off of southpaws.
His advanced statistics also speak volumes about how well he performs versus lefties, as he’s posted a career .371 wOBA along with an impressive 137 wRC+.
The New York Mets signed the right-handed hitting Ruggiano on July 30 after he was released from the Texas Rangers’ Triple A affiliate, the Round Rock Express earlier in the week. With the Mets placing center fielder Juan Lagares on the DL due to a torn ligament in his left thumb, which would cost him nearly two months of the season, Ruggiano was brought aboard for veteran outfield depth. He was immediately placed in the starting lineup for the Mets that night against the Colorado Rockies, where he went 1-for-3 while patrolling centerfield.
Ruggiano flexed his muscle in the August 18, 10-7 Mets loss at AT&T Park in San Francisco against one of the best lefties in the game, Madison Bumgarner. Ruggiano went 2-for-2 off of Bumgarner, including a fourth inning grand slam that gave the Mets an early 4-0 lead. Ruggiano added another single in the sixth off reliever Cory Gearrin to go a combined 3-for-5 on the night with four RBI and two runs scored.
Unfortunately for the Mets and Ruggiano, he was placed on the DL twice in August, the second time (left shoulder injury) closing the book on his 2016 season, as he was transferred to the 60-day DL on August 31. On November 4, the Mets out-righted Ruggiano off the 40-man roster, as he then cleared waivers and elected for free agency.
He would’ve been solid minor league depth for the Mets, and a potential weapon off the bench against left-handed pitching late in games. With a logjam in the outfield as it is, the Mets decided to not pursue Ruggiano this offseason.