The Chicago Cubs have cut ties with oft-injured former closer Brandon Morrow, officially releasing him on Wednesday afternoon. Baseball America was the first to record the transaction through its minor league transactions page. Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation later reported that the team likely made the move in large part because of the realities of the shortened 2020 season.
Taylor said it was an “extreme longshot” that Morrow would have contributed to the Cubs this season. He was signed to a minor league deal before spring training as the kind of deal analysts referred to as a no-lose proposition for the team.
If the closer, who missed all of the 2019 season with various injuries, could battle his way back to the majors, he would be a very cheap option out of the back end of the Cubs’ bullpen. If he didn’t pan out and the team never called him up, it wouldn’t have cost the front office much.
The plan, as Taylor pointed out, never really got up and running because of the coronavirus pandemic. The new conditions that teams are playing under, including a 60-man roster and no minor league system, meant there would be no room for Morrow.
The Cubs did not include him on the 2020 season roster in part because he was still battling injury problems. As The Inquisitr reported back in February, Morrow’s spring training was shut down not long after it got started.
The pitcher, who had come into camp claiming he felt better than he had in years, suffered a calf injury while running in warmups. At the time, it was expected he was going to have to rest for 10 to 14 days but the coronavirus pandemic completely shut down spring training not long after.
Jon Heyman reported on Twitter that Morrow was dealing with yet another physical issue this summer and Taylor believes that might also have led to the Cubs deciding to cut ties with their former closer. Heyman said the pitcher had a “minor nerve procedure” performed recently and because of that, it would take a bit of time for him to ramp up. That meant he wouldn’t be available for the start of the season, even if he was included on the 60-man roster.
Morrow signed a two-year contract with the Cubs before the 2018 season and was largely dominant when he was healthy. He appeared in 35 games and posted a career-best 1.47 earned run average with 22 saves.
Heyman reported the pitcher told him he’s not retiring and will attempt to make a comeback in 2021.