Today, the Cubs Front Office declined Brandon Morrow's 2020 option for 12 million dollars. Instead, they pay a 3 million buyout, and Morrow becomes a free agent. Including the 9 million per year, for the last two years, Brandon Morrow got paid 22 million dollars to pitch the first half of 2018 for the Cubs. Total: 30.2 innings.
This completes the worst move of the Thed era of Cubs baseball. Some may point to Heyward, some to Chatwood. But no move was as ill advised as paying the perpetually injured Brandon Morrow that much money and try to make him the closer of your team. It was a huge risk, very expensive, and ultimately cost the Cubs a lot more than dollars.
Brandon Morrow has had approximately 1 full season of baseball in his 12 year career. He hurt himself putting on pants. Fragile is an understatement. The Cubs knew he had an injury history going into the signing. They thought they could manage it with using him properly, and ultimately it just never happened.
While he was good for that half season, once he broke down, there was no putting it back together. He faced constant setbacks in rehab, despite the Front Office shutting him down several times to rest. Surgery late in 2018 impacted a potential 2019 start. It just didn't matter.
The thing that really chaps me is how Thed counted on him to be the closer in two championship window years. Very few playoff teams have enigmas for closers. Thed has built bullpens with question marks before, but never with somebody so injury prone. It was misguided.
If Morrow was a financial bargain, it might make sense, but he was ranked by spottrac as having the 10th highest salary for a RP in 2019. With 3 of those ten being rotation clunkers going into the bullpen, his salary is actually 7th among true relief pitcher contracts. What a waste of money.
Between being able to predict injuries, the massive cost, and the importance of a closer, Morrow should have gone 0/3 when the Cubs were evaluating. Those are 3 massive strikes against signing him, and the Cubs rushed in to grab him. He cost them dearly, mainly by not being available in so many critical spots.
After realizing he might not be available for 2019, Thed had to make a move. They brought in Craig Kimbrel on another huge RP contract. Unfortunately Kimbrel put up one of the worst bullpen performances you'll ever see, with a 6.53 ERA 1.4 WHIP and insane 9 home runs given up in just 20 innings. That and he had 2 IL stints. You can't blame Kimbrel's performance on Morrow, but Kimbrel's cost is directly caused by Morrow's failures.
I hated the Morrow signing since the first moment he was rumored to the Cubs. There was no way he would ever stay healthy. Never did I imagine him missing 3/4ths of his tenure due to perpetual injuries. The lack of a closer caused a domino effect through the pen that killed the team, and impacted financials going forward.
Good riddance Brandon Morrow. May I never have to hear your name again.