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Cubs sign Brandon Morrow to minor-league deal

This was expected, and now it’s happened.

Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Last month, Brandon Morrow, through his agent, expressed a desire to come back to the Cubs in 2020, saying he felt poorly about not being able to fulfill his two-year contract. Morrow threw only half a season for the team in 2018, and he was a dominant closer then. Unfortunately, he hasn’t thrown a pitch at all since the 2018 All-Star break. The photo above is from the last game he pitched, against the Padres in San Diego July 15, 2018.

And last week, it was reported that the Cubs and Morrow were working on a minor-league deal. Such deals had to wait until after the Rule 5 Draft, because had Morrow signed before then, he’d have been eligible to be chosen.

Today, that’s a done deal:

That’s a really good deal for the Cubs. If Morrow doesn’t show enough in spring training to stick with the Cubs, they owe him nothing (nothing, that is, beyond the $3 million buyout they have already paid him for 2020). If he makes the team, it’s a $1 million commitment with only $1.25 million in incentives.

If Morrow is healthy enough to pitch the way he did in 2018 before the All-Star break, that’s a great setup man/possible secondary closer for a maximum amount of $2.25 million.

In today’s baseball market, that’s a no-risk, possible very high return for very little money.

Well done, Theo & Co., and let’s hope Morrow can return to his dominant form of the first half of 2018, when he posted a 1.47 ERA and 1.078 WHIP with 22 saves in 24 opportunities, and 31 strikeouts and just nine walks in 30⅔ innings.


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