The Los Angeles Dodgers officially open camp in two weeks, with pitchers and catchers due to report for Spring Training on Wednesday, Feb. 15. While the club’s primary needs — starting rotation, closer, third base and second base — were addressed throughout the offseason, some work remains to be done in the bullpen.
Speaking during FanFest over the weekend, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acknowledged the team has maintained contact with Joe Blanton. J.P. Howell, another of the Dodgers’ relievers from last season to reach free agency this winter, reportedly agreed to terms with the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.
Along with re-signing Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers avoided arbitration with relievers Luis Avilan, Josh Fields and Chris Hatcher. Vidal Nuño was acquired in a trade with the Seattle Mariners last November, and former San Diego Padres reliever Brandon Morrow was recently signed.
According to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball, Morrow’s Minor League deal includes a $1.25 million base salary should he reach the Majors with the Dodgers, and incentives for games pitched:
Morrow deal with dodgers: 1.25M if in majors plus 250K for 40, 50, 60, 65 games. 2.25M max
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 27, 2017
Over parts of 10 seasons with the Mariners, Blue Jays and Padres, Morrow is 45-43 with a 4.16 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 101 ERA+ and 1.35 WHIP in 254 games (113 starts). He’s yet to appear in more than 30 games since the 2011 season with the Blue Jays.
Prior to that point, Morrow’s best mark was 45 games pitched for the Mariners in 2008. The year before, Morrow appeared in 60 games with the Mariners as a rookie.
Last season was Morrow’s first as a full-time reliever. Morrow converted to a role out of the bullpen in response to battling multiple throughout his career. He’s made at least one trip to the disabled list each season since 2010.
Morrow underwent shoulder surgery in August 2015 and signed a Minor League deal with the San Diego Padres last winter. He struggled in starts with High-A Lake Elsinore, Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso, and was sent to extended Spring Training in May.
Three days later Morrow was diagnosed with shoulder fatigue. Morrow’s contract was then purchased by the Padres in August, and he yielded a 1.69 ERA, 4.33 FIP and 1.38 WHIP in 16 innings over 18 games.
During that stretch, Morrow pitched to a 10.3 percent swinging-strike rate and his fastball regularly touched 94 mph. Albeit in a small sample size, Morrow averaged a career-best 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings with the Padres last season.