Former Cubs reliever Brandon Morrow is headed back to the Los Angels Dodgers.
Before he came to the Chicago Cubs, Brandon Morrow made his name as a late-inning weapon for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was lights-out during the 2017 regular season, making 45 appearances and working to a 2.06 ERA – while not allowing a single home run.
Come October, he stepped up for the Dodgers in a big way, taking the ball in every game of that year’s Fall Classic against the Houston Astros. He quickly turned his efforts into a two-year, $21 million deal with Chicago, who was looking to replace Wade Davis in the back of the bullpen. Of course, Davis inked a three-year, $52 million deal with the Rockies – and was absolutely abysmal pretty much the entire time.
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At first, it looked like a savvy move for Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the Cubs. In the first half of the 2018 campaign, Morrow picked up right where he left off the year prior, making 35 appearances and working to a 1.47 ERA at the back end of the pen. But then the injuries hit – and the right-hander never threw another pitch for Chicago.
He wound up missing the rest of 2018, all of 2019 – and didn’t pitch in 2020, either. Morrow hasn’t thrown a pitch since July 15, 2018 – when he notched his 22nd save in a win against the San Diego Padres. But none of that stopped the Dodgers from bringing him back into the fold, with Morrow inking a minor league pact to return to Los Angeles for his age-37 season next year.
Now, the reigning World Series champions aren’t betting anything on Morrow returning to form. It’s a minor league pact and if he can’t get healthy, so be it. But if he can be anywhere near what he was from 2015 to 2018 (123 1/3 IP, 2.03 ERA, 1.062 WHIP), manager Dave Roberts will add yet another weapon to his arsenal.
Remember, the Cubs tried this same move last winter, when they brought Morrow back on a minor league deal after his initial two-year deal ran its course. He got hurt early in the spring and never threw a pitch. Chicago released him in July – before the shortened 2020 campaign even got underway.
Best of luck to Brandon. When he was healthy, he was dominant for the Cubs. The problem, of course, being he was literally never healthy past the All-Star Break two years ago. We’ll see if he can work his way back or if his career has already come to a rather unceremonious end.