Chicago Cubs: Is Brandon Morrow about to return to the bullpen?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Some fans believe that Chicago Cubs pitcher Brandon Morrow won’t return to the team this season or maybe ever. While others believe he is the Cubs secret weapon.  Who is closer to the truth?

If you want to get Chicago Cubs fans up in arms, talk about pitcher Brandon Morrow. After pitching in all seven World Series games in 2017 and tying the record for reliever appearances; Cubs fans watched the reliever carve up our star-studded lineup in the NLCS in 2017.

Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, decided that an ace like Morrow belonged with the Northsiders. Or maybe he was envisioning a payback scenario where Morrow would shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018. Either way, at 33, Morrow signed a two-year, $21-million deal with the Chicago Cubs.

Chicago Cubs fans only recall the negative things about Morrow; he’s expensive, always hurt, old and sensitive. However, in 2018 he pitched a 1.47 ERA for the Cubs in 35 games. He only played 10 more games the year prior for Los Angeles. In 2018, Morrow recorded 22 saves in 30 2/3 innings pitched for the Cubs. Even in an abbreviated appearing season, Morrow made a difference.

Now Morrow, who turned 35 last month, is hungry to return according to General Manager of the Chicago Cubs Jed Hoyer:

"“Obviously, the comments he’s made and in talking to him, it’s clear — he wants nothing more than to come back and help this team,” Hoyer said. “It has to be frustrating to not be here. We’re cautiously optimistic and we know how much it would help us if he did it. He’d be an unbelievable shot in the arm if he can do it.”"

Could Morrow be Epstein’s hidden ace? Morrow has to play before the end of the month to be eligible for the postseason, which seems to mesh perfectly with his timeline.  Looking at the Cubs schedule, several key road games are approaching that Morrow could make a difference.

Could Morrow return this month?

Chicago Cubs pitcher Brandon Morrow isn’t in the hospital or recovery room or bed. Currently, he is in Arizona, pitching. It may come as a surprise to Cubs fans, but Morrow has been feeling very good and even throwing the ball more than 120 feet without any pain.

However, with Morrow’s propensity to get hurt, Cubs management is hesitant to even think of Morrow’s return for fear it may cause an injury. They’ve adopted the term “cautiously optimistic” meaning they’re scared to say, think, or believe anything positive as it might backfire on them.

Morrow, on the other hand, is trying to be as positive as possible.

"“With the way I’m feeling, I expect to progress quickly. I guess not more than a month away from being back,” Morrow said."

That’s good news with the San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals and New York Mets on the schedule for the end of the month. I’d put my money on Morrow’s return during the Met’s series if all else goes in the Cubs favor. The Mets have been playing lights out and are just a couple games out of Wild Card contention. Of course the very last two days of the month, the Cubs will be facing the Brewers at home, which would also make for a historic – heroic comeback.

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Morrow may be better off coming back next season, but there isn’t one person in the Cubs organization that isn’t focused on this season. There seems to be incredible pressure for the Cubs to go far in the postseason this year. Management has already commented on the huge impact Morrow could make to the bullpen, should he return this month.

Should management chance injuring him in the postseason and perhaps losing him in 2020? When every game counts, the answer is to make some room in the bullpen – soon.