Chicago Cubs: New closer Brandon Morrow doesn’t dance

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Keeping Morrow healthy is the key to the bullpen

It doesn’t matter how good your stuff is if you’re never on the mound.

"“Brandon Morrow is the closer,” Epstein said as Spring Training drew to a close. “We think he’s just got electric stuff. He’s at a point in his career where he’s figured it out. It’s all about health for him.”"

Epstein wasn’t talking about Morrow’s health in passing. He and skipper Joe Maddon had discussed using Morrow in classic ninth inning situations much like they did with Wade Davis.  In a tightly structured closing role, Epstein believed he could keep Morrow healthy. By limiting his appearances to ninth-inning saves and optimal usage only, Maddon and Epstein hoped to get seven deadly months with Morrow each season.

Even four or five months of health hasn’t been historically easy for Morrow.  His 15-year career is littered with the typical injuries.  As 670 WSCR broke down in February, Morrow has battled the likes of biceps tendinitis, an abdominal strain, radial nerve entrapment in his right arm, a torn tendon sheath in a finger and, last but certainly not least, a 2015 shoulder surgery.

In short, the Cubs made a bit of a gamble. In saving tens of millions of dollars (as opposed to re-signing Davis), they bet on Morrow’s ability to stay healthy over the course of his deal. And it’s far from a guarantee given his past.