Brandon Morrow – Pay the man, Dodgers

As I was driving to Costco on Thursday afternoon to drop what would undoubtedly be a couple hundred bucks (plus another $1.50 for the obligatory hot dog), I was listening to MLB Network Radio, as I often do while in the car. Much to my surprise, the call-in radio guest for the show was Dodgers star reliever Brandon Morrow.

…or I should say now free-agent star reliever Brandon Morrow.

There is zero disputing that the 33-year-old Santa Rosa, California native, who was drafted by the Seattle Mariners two spots ahead of some guy named Clayton Kershaw in the 2006 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of UC Berkeley, thoroughly enjoyed his one season with the Dodgers in 2017, this in spite of being a non-roster invitee to spring training and beginning the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City. But after an injury to Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood, Morrow had his contract purchased by the Dodgers and was called up on May 29, 2017.

Upon Wood’s return on June 10, the 6′-3″ / 205-pound flame-throwing right-hander was sent back down to OKC but was called back up to stay on June 29. He finished the regular season with a perfect 6-0 record and a remarkable 2.05 ERA, with an impossible 0.916 WHIP. He also struck out 50 opposing batters while walking only 9 in his 43.2 relief innings pitched.

Many Dodger fans are completely unaware that Morrow was drafted in 2006 by the Seattle Mariners two spots ahead of Clayton Kershaw. He was lights out for the Dodgers during the regular season and even more so during the postseason. (Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

For those unfamiliar with Morrow’s 11-year MLB career that includes three seasons with the Mariners, five with the Toronto Blue Jays, two with the San Diego Padres and one with the Dodgers, it is besieged with injuries. To start things off, Morrow has type-1 diabetes. He suffered biceps tendinitis and an abdominal strain that kept him out for more than two months during the 2012 season, a radial nerve entrapment in his right forearm in 2013, a torn tendon sheath in his right index finger in 2014, surgery to remove damaged tissue from his shoulder in 2015, and numerous other nagging injuries to his forearm and shoulder throughout his career. That said, aside for the normal fatigue, aches and pains associated with a grueling season, he was injury-free during his one season in LA.

…which brings us back to that free agent thing.

Morrow’s one-year deal with the Dodgers in 2017 was worth $1.25 million, an absolute bargain at the price. But with his remarkable success during the regular season and his warrior-like performance during the postseason, including appearances in all seven World Series games, Brandon Morrow is going to get paid … and probably for a two but more likely a three-year deal.

But will it be with the Dodgers?

“Things are still quiet, but obviously you’d love to go back to the place where you had success, and the Dodgers are set to be good for a long time and that’s obviously very attractive, to be with a team that’s going to compete. I think that’s very high on my list at 33 years old,” said Morrow. “And to get back to the playoffs and getting so close to try and win one, I think that’s probably going to be the leading factor in my decision … to play with teams with a chance.”

The burning question is whether or not the Dodgers are willing to invest in what will undoubtedly be a multi-year / multi-million dollar deal for a 33-year-old who has a history of significant injuries, due in no short part by the fact the he routinely hits triple digits with his fastball.

But there is another issue in play here. It has been widely rumored that Morrow wants to be a closer and perhaps land a contract at least somewhat close to the five-year / $80 million contract that Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen locked down at the conclusion of the 2016 season and runs through the 2021 season. Granted, Jansen is three years younger than Morrow, but you can easily see where this is headed. Is it possible that Morrow could be looking to becoming a Jansen-like closer with another team, especially one willing to offer him Jansen-like money?

“I don’t care about closing,” answered Morrow succinctly. “Throwing from the sixth to eighth inning and doing that … and yeah, I’m cool pitching wherever and just looking for the best fit in the next few weeks.

“All things equal, I’d probably be going back to the Dodgers. But this is a big [decision] I’ve got to make and other clubs are hopefully going to be coming after you and seeing what their pitch is,” Morrow continued. “And like I said, there’s just a lot going into it. But yeah, definitely like building that with them and having the success that I did, and knowing how the clubhouse is there and the guys on the squad, and how much young talent they have, how good they’re going to be for years to come, and to be able to hopefully be in that for three to four years. Like a lot of other teams like that, it’s definitely an attractive situation.”

It’s your move, F&Z. Don’t blow it.

 

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3 Responses to “Brandon Morrow – Pay the man, Dodgers”

  1. oldbrooklynfan says:

    I think the post season wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as it was, for the Dodgers, if it weren’t for Brandon Morrow. I, for one, would truly like to see the Dodgers resign him.

  2. SoCalBum says:

    AMEN! Right guy, right team, right time — get Morrow signed then move on to priority no. 2, whatever that may be.

  3. baseball1439 says:

    Morrow was very good this season but resigning him depends on the years and the cost.

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