Don’t let his World Series performance fool you, Brandon Morrow was absolutely dominant for the Dodgers last season. And the Cubs are hoping he can be more of the same for them moving forward, as FanRag’s Jon Heyman reports that an agreement between the two sides has been reached. Terms had not been reported as of post time, but Heyman believes the deal is for $10-11 million per year.
Since being converted to a relief role on a permanent basis with San Diego in 2016, Morrow has been incredible: 1.96 ERA (2.30 FIP), 4.83 K/BB, 0.30 HR/9. Only 22 relievers who’ve thrown at least 50 innings since 2016 have a lower WHIP than Morrow’s 1.04, only 13 have a higher K/BB ratio, only six have allowed fewer HR/9, and only one has allowed a lower home run-per-fly ball rate than Morrow’s 4 percent.
Pare those numbers back to just 2017 and a minimum of 40 innings and they get even better, particularly the zeroes in the home run categories. Yes, you saw that correctly, Morrow didn’t allow a single batted ball to make it over the wall last season.
It’s impossible to talk about the great numbers without also discussing the injuries that have limited Morrow to 180 1/3 innings pitched over the last five seasons, three of which included at least partial starting duties. Any acquisition is a balancing act between risk and reward, what has been and what could be, but it gets a little more precarious with Morrow.
This deal gives the Cubs a little more insurance against Wade Davis signing elsewhere and may even afford them a little more leverage in negotiations with their former closer. Morrow can handle the 9th inning, whether it’s on a permanent basis or as a placeholder until a younger pitcher matures into the role. After all, Morrow will turn 34 in July and can’t really be expected to maintain that 98 mph fastball forever.
But hey, if he can keep pumping that heat, backing it up with that cutter and slider, he’s gonna look great in blue pinstripes. Also road blue or gray, for that matter.
Yahoo’s Jeff Passan has offered more clarification on the contract, which is for two years with an option. This could be an absolute steal for the Cubs, as the abbreviated length of the deal mitigates the obvious risks of Morrow’s age, health history, and position.
Source: The Chicago Cubs have agreed to terms with free agent RP Brandon Morrow on a two-year deal with an option. @MLBBruceLevine first said they were close. Deal is pending a physical.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 10, 2017