The Cubs began the process of rebuilding their beleaguered bullpen on Sunday afternoon. Jon Heyman has reported that the Cubs have a deal with ex-Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow. Morrow was leaned on heavily by Dave Roberts in the 2017 playoffs. The hard throwing right hander threw 13.2 innings in the Dodgers World Series run. In the regular season he posted a sterling 2.06 ERA (1.55 FIP) in 43.2 innings.
Morrow will have deal with cubs. Expected to be for 10 or 11M a year.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 10, 2017
The 33-year old Morrow was a starter earlier in his career for the Mariners and Blue Jays. He posted a career 4.32 ERA as a starter with a .242 batting average against. He then went to the Padres in 2015, where shoulder impingement surgery ended his season. He returned for just 16 innings in 2016 as a reliever.
The California native signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in 2017 and began the year in AAA. Upon his call up in May, he quickly became the primary setup man behind closer Kenley Jansen. Morrow touched 100 miles per hour on his fastball as a reliever and consistently sat in the high 90's. He throws a slider, changeup, curve ball, and added a hard cutter in 2017.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports the deal is for two years with an option year, Heyman added it was for between 10 and 11 million dollars per season. Two years 20 million is a very reasonable deal for a reliever like Morrow, still red flags remain.
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
Morrow has had injury problems in the past especially that shoulder surgery in 2015. The heavy usage in the World Series is also a concern for the Cubs. After pitching 5 times in 6 days, his ERA shot up to 8.44 against the Astros. For a pitcher who has only thrown 92 innings the last 3 seasons it's unclear how heavily he can be leaned on. He also has never been a closer other than a brief stint with the Mariners early in his career.
If Morrow can recreate his 2017 season with the Cubs it will be a very good addition to the club. The deal is reasonable enough that if it doesn't work out it won't be that big of a deal. I fully expect one and probably two more relievers will be added by Theo and company before the off-season is over.