The Chicago Cubs knew that closer Brandon Morrow had an extensive injury history. Yet they still signed him to a big deal and are paying for it now.
Chicago Cubs closer Brandon Morrow reportedly has been shut down for an unknown period of time following a bullpen session earlier this week. He indicated he was still dealing with some of the same issues as last season.
If you recall, Morrow injured himself taking off his pants in June last season with what he called back spasms. Happens to everyone, right? Well, later in the season against the Brewers, Morrow was only hitting 94-95 mph on his fastball. The flamethrower is normally around 99-100 mph on his primary pitch, and I knew something was wrong.
That something turned out to be a forearm bruise. He tried to rehab to make it back in time for the postseason, but was eventually shut down in September after lingering issues remained. It was well known that he was not going to be available until May of this season, but this latest news is worthy of a head-shake.
Morrow has an extensive injury history landing on the injured list in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 with forearm, hand, and shoulder injuries prior to joining the Cubs. Given that his timeline is unknown, I would not expect Morrow to return this season.
Theo Epstein took a huge gamble by signing Morrow to a big money deal, and it has blown up in his face. It could be argued that his free agent signings since the 2016 World Series championship have all had minimal return on the investment.
Thankfully, Morrow was signed to just a two-year deal so his money will be off the books after this season, but this leaves the Cubs scrambling to find a long-term replacement at the closer position. Right now, Pedro Strop is the closer for the Cubs, but I believe he is a better fit for an eighth inning setup man.
The Cubs cannot afford to go out and trade for a guy like Aroldis Chapman again if they find themselves in contention at the MLB trade deadline, as they simply don’t have the prospects to it. They have a few potential options internally, but not really anyone that they can trust. Carl Edwards, Jr. and Brad Brach have been shaky at best with the former having been sent down to Triple-A Iowa to get some things figured out.
We’ll look at a few options that the Cubs could potentially do to get themselves them a closer shortly. For now though, this is not good news for a bullpen that was banking on Morrow’s return.