Chicago Cubs: Brandon Morrow signing team’s biggest swing-and-miss

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

It is no surprise that the Chicago Cubs didn’t pick up Brandon Morrow’s club option for 2020, but can the Cubs learn for the failed signing?

As we all know by now, Brandon Morrow will not be back with the Chicago Cubs next season. I’m sure every Cubs fan is perfectly OK with that decision to not pick up the club option. Morrow’s time with the Cubs was, to say the least, very disappointing.

Going into the 2018 season, the Cubs needed a closer after letting Wade Davis hit free agency. Morrow was one of the premier names on the free agency list after an outstanding 2017 with the Dodgers. Morrow was used as the setup man for the Dodgers and excelled in that role. In 43 2/3 innings pitched, Morrow had a 2.06 ERA with 50 strikeouts. We’re talking about some elite numbers for a bullpen arm.

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Morrow’s usage in the 2017 playoffs was a talked about topic when he hit the free-agent market. He was used in all seven games of the 2017 World Series, most teams thought that might be a problem in signing Morrow.

The Cubs front office took the chance in singing the 33-year-old right-hander to a two-year, $21 million contract with an option for 2020. At the time most people in the baseball world thought that it was a good singing especially for the Cubs because of there need for a dominant back of the bullpen arm. I know personally, I thought it was a terrific signing. Especially after watching Morrow dominate the Cubs in the 2017 NLCS.

When Morrow was healthy in 2018 he was exactly what the Cubs thought they got when they signed him. In 35 games (30 2/3 innings) Morrow dominated, supporting a 1.47 ERA with 31 strikeouts. That’s the guy we all expected to be closing games for the Cubs for the years to come.

Morrow’s last pitch he ever threw as a Cub came on July 15, 2018. The veteran had injured his elbow which required surgery before the 2019 season. After the surgery, the Cubs seemed confident that he would be able to pitch in 2019. It seemed like all season we would get little updates from the Cubs on Morrow. Then the news came out that Morrow would be shut down for all of 2019.

On the Cubs part, it was an absolute failure of signing, even if at the time of the signing it was the right move. Paying Morrow $21 million for 30 2/3 innings pitched was not at all what the Cubs had in mind.

Can the Cubs front office learn from this mistake heading into this offseason? I know you can never expect injuries to happen and to linger like this one did but it something to think about.

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The failed Morrow signing has impacted this team in many more ways than just losing the player. If Morrow was healthy the Cubs don’t go out and get Craig Kimbrel. If he was healthy and performing the Cubs probably consider picking up his club option for 2020.