The Dodgers have lost Brandon Morrow to the Chicago Cubs. While it is a blow, there are plenty of proven relievers on the market.
Brandon Morrow, who was crucial to the Dodgers success in 2017, has officially signed a deal with the Chicago Cubs. Morrow worked as the bridge to Kenley Jansen last year and he shined in that role. But, while this seems like a huge loss (and reasonably so) it truly is not the end of the world, and it is something the Dodgers can easily recover from.
Morrow was a force to be reckoned with last year. From his 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings to his 204 ERA+ there is just no statistic to point to him not being a positive piece. In his 45 games last year, Morrow did not allow a single home run and also managed a WHIP of .916. He was among the games best and most elite pitchers, and he has found his home in the bullpen of whatever team he goes to. But, as suggested in the title of this piece, I truly believe the Dodgers will be fine without Morrow.
The Cubs’ closer in 2017 was Wade Davis. Davis, like Morrow, enjoyed a fantastic season finishing second in NL reliever of the year voting. But, also like Morrow, Davis is out on the open market ready to field offers from other teams. So, the now closer-less Cubs needed to fill the vacancy of the most crucial role in a team’s bullpen. Morrow will be that guy.
The Cubs intention right now is to sign Morrow and make him their closer. He will be making somewhere between 10 and 11 million dollars a year over two years and an option for a third. To be competitive with that, the Dodgers would probably need to outbid the Cubs because they have no closer role to offer. And, although Morrow proved his worth last year, he is 33 years old and signing him for that much money for at least three more years could very well hurt the Dodgers toward the back end of a fairly expensive contract. Compound the money and length of contract with Morrow’s history of injuries, and you’re looking at deal that just might not be worth making.
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There are plenty of relievers of the same caliber as Morrow on the market right now. Addison Reed is the perfect example. Reed is just 28 years old and pitched has been lights out for a few years now. The Dodgers could very reasonably sign Reed to a contract similar to what Morrow just earned and get a guy who is five years younger. With Morrow off the market, the Dodgers will be able to focus their attention on signing someone like Reed, and with that signing, they are yet again in very good shape.
I do want to make something clear. I am not saying the Dodgers more on from this unscathed. In fact, losing Morrow is a huge deal, should the not fill the role with someone just as good. Allowing Morrow to sign with the Cubs was the right move if it is backed up with action by the front office.
The Dodgers were at a disadvantage from the second Morrow hit the market. He played well enough last year to warrant closing duties that the Dodgers obviously cannot offer. Morrow deserved what he just got, and I am sure he can make his no role work for at least one season. But, if you look at the big picture, Morrow leaving LA could actually be for the best.