The Chicago Cubs announced a pair of signings Tuesday evening, including finalizing a two-year contract with Brandon Morrow. His deal also includes a club/vesting option for 2020. Chicago also signed Drew Smyly to a two-year contract.
Reports of Morrow’s forthcoming agreement with Chicago first surfaced on Sunday. He joins the very team that struggled to hit him in the 2017 National League Championship Series.
It’s believed the Cubs are considering utilizing Morrow as a closer, particularly if Wade Davis is not re-signed.
After signing a Minor League contract with the Dodgers last January, the right-hander emerged as a viable late-inning option and setup man. That was all the more surprising considering Morrow’s mild success with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
He joined the Dodgers as a call-up at the end of May and after some back-and-forth with OKC, stuck with the Dodgers for good, beginning in mid-July. Morrow finished the regular season 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA, 1.55 FIP, 0.92 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 43.2 innings across 45 games.
He pitched to a 3.95 ERA in 14 postseason games, collecting 12 strikeouts against two walks in 13.2 innings pitched. Morrow’s inflated ERA was largely a byproduct of an abysmal appearance against the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the World Series.
Morrow allowed four runs on four hits, including two home runs, and failed to retire any of the four batters faced. While it was a night to forget, it contributed to Morrow becoming only the second pitcher in MLB history to appear in all seven games of a single World Series.
The 2017 season was only Morrow’s second pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, and his first since doing so as a rookie in 2003. He expressed a desire to re-sign with the Dodgers, but the club seemingly was priced out for retaining his services.