The Dodgers’ bullpen has no doubt been the MVP for the team this postseason, and Brandon Morrow, like Kenley Jansen, is at the heart of it all.
Brandon Morrow is another one of the front office’s under-the-radar gems. He was signed to a minor league deal during the offseason and started off the season in Triple-A. And since being called up to the Dodgers, all he’s done is be a stud.
In 43.2 innings with the big league club in the regular season, he posted a 2.06 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 50 strikeouts and a 1.55 FIP. The converted reliever has always had talent (taken two spots ahead of Clayton Kershaw). His stuff is terrific, always has been. It was just health that held him back as a starter. But it looks as if moving to the bullpen was the best move for his career.
And now in the postseason, he continued his dominance, pitching 6.1 innings and allowing just two hits and a single run. That run was the first home run he’s given up all year. Other than that, hitters haven’t been able to figure him out.
And it’s not like he’s facing unimpressive hitters. He’s had an Andrew Miller-esque role this month, coming in during different innings when the opposition’s best hitters were up and going more than one inning.
This has led him to face the likes of Paul Goldschmidt, J.D. Martinez, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant multiple times. The elite of the elite. He’s also faced quality hitters along the line of A.J. Pollock.
He’s pitched in every game in the playoffs so far and has recorded more than three outs thrice. His most impressive outing may be his appearance during Game 2 of the NLCS. He buzzed through six outs on just 18 pitchers and took down the Cubs’ heart of the lineup.
Taking down the best of the best is always impressive. Doing it consistently in the playoffs is even better. He’s been dealing all season long and is on track to make a significant raise on the minor league deal from this past season.
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Bullpen’s are arguably the most critical part of a team, and we are in the era that may see the league transition towards bullpenning. Thus relief pitchers’ salaries are increasing each season, especially for relief aces such as Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, etc.
Even non-closers are getting paid well. Before 2015, Andrew Miller signed a 4-year $36 million deal with the Yankees, even though he wasn’t going to be the closer or even the setup man. But he still got paid.
If a non-closer relief pitcher such as Tyler Clippard can sign a 2-year $12.25 million contract after a 2015 season that saw him post a 2.92 ERA, Morrow can get something close.
The difference is Clippard was around 30-years-old, and Morrow will be 33 this winter. But he’s also a reliever, so age isn’t as critical.
And Joe Blanton signed a one-year $4 million contract with the Nationals this past winter and he’s already 36, so Morrow should get, and rightfully so, something in between. Two-years $10 million? Three years $12 million? Who knows, but something in that ballpark seems reasonable.
He has established him as an elite back-end guy who can come in in any situation during different times of the games and give you more than one inning. Seems like he deserves a big raise. While age isn’t as big for a reliever, it still plays a factor, especially when you have an injury history such as Morrow does.
Whatever the case, hopefully, Friedman decides that he is worth the money and brings him back, especially considering they don’t have anyone else on the roster to replace him. He’s been supremely invaluable and irreplaceable to the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers.