On Sunday, Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reported that the Chicago Cubs have signed free agent right-handed relief pitcher Brandon Morrow. Morrow, most recently with the National League pennant-winning Los Angeles Dodgers, is expected to earn $10-11 million per season on a deal reported to be for two years.
Morrow had crazy good numbers as an effective set-up man for the Dodgers and closer Kenley Jansen. Morrow most frequently pitched the seventh or eighth inning, yielding just 31 hits and 10 runs in 43.2 innings of relief work. The 11-year veteran struck out 50 batters and allowed zero home runs on his way to a 6-0 record.
Morrow has a career 4.05 ERA in the regular season as both a starter and a reliever. The 33-year-old pitched 14 out of 15 Dodgers playoff games this past postseason, including all seven in the World Series loss against the Houston Astros.
The signing helps the Cubs bolster an already solid bullpen that features Carl Edwards Jr., Pedro Strop, Justin Wilson, and Mike Montgomery amongst others. With the potential loss of free agent closer Wade Davis, rumored to test the free agency market, Morrow will conceivably be slotted into the closer role for the north siders.
This signing follows the acquisition of free agent starter Tyler Chatwood, boosting a starting rotation that will now be sans former Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta. It is also rumored that Chicago will pursue a deal with starting pitcher Alex Cobb as the MLB Winter Meetings kick off.
With a bitter taste in their mouths from their NLCS loss to Los Angeles, the Cubs effectively stole the Dodgers’ most efficent middle-reliever and improved their bullpen mightily with Morrow (1.96 ERA over the past two seasons).
Morrow, previously with the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, and Dodgers, will submit to a physical at a later date, as the Cubs have yet to officially announce the signing. Though Morrow has had his fair share of injuries in his lengthy career, he has been one of the predominant setup men in baseball recently.