Earlier this month, Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman revealed that bolstering the bullpen is one of his top priorities before Spring Training.
The unit was one of the best in baseball this past season, but it could use some reinforcements with Pedro Baez and Blake Treinen reaching free agency. With that in mind, the Dodgers completed a trade for former All-Star closer Corey Knebel, sending prospect Leo Crawford to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The hope is that the right-hander can recapture his form and emerge as a late-inning option next season. The Dodgers have continued to add high-upside arms to the mix, bringing back Brandon Morrow, Brock Stewart and Jimmy Nelson on Minor League contracts.
For Morrow, it marks his first time with the organization since 2017, when he enjoyed a resurgent season as the Dodgers’ primary setup man. He was decimated by injuries the past three years but is finally back at full health.
Friedman is cautiously optimistic that Morrow will be able to contribute to the club next year, via Pedro Moura of The Athletic:
“We see real upside potential. Obviously with Morrow, we saw it up close and personal in 2017 and feel good about where he’s at right now. He’s excited to be back. We’re excited that he’s back. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’s a real factor for us in 2021.”
Morrow emerged as a key relief pitcher for the Dodgers in 2017, memorably pitching in all seven games of the World Series that year. He went on to sign a two-year, $21 million contract with the Chicago Cubs that offseason but has been limited by injuries ever since.
Morrow’s first season with the Cubs got off to a strong start but was marred by back, biceps and elbow trouble. Elbow surgery and a subsequent setback prevented him from pitching in 2019, and the team declined their option for this year.
However, Morrow re-signed with the Cubs on a Minor League contract for the 2020 season and was deemed healthy going into Spring Training this year. However, he did not pitch at all after suffering a chest strain and a partially torn calf muscle early into camp.
Dodgers reportedly among teams pursuing Liam Hendriks
Having already added Knebel and Morrow this offseason, the Dodgers reportedly are among the teams pursuing top free-agent reliever Liam Hendriks.
Hendricks pitched to a 1.78 ERA, 1.14 FIP and 0.67 WHIP for the Oakland Athletics this past season while striking out 37 and walking just three in 25.1 innings.
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