When Brandon Morrow re-signed with the Cubs this past offseason on a minor league deal, he said he felt like it was something of a make-good after he pitched just under a half-season on his two-year contract with the Cubs.
Unfortunately, thanks to the pandemic – and perhaps lingering injury issues about which we continue to know very little – that isn’t going to happen.
Per BA’s minor league transaction roundup today, the Cubs have released Morrow.
To be sure, it was always an extreme long-shot that Morrow would contribute out of the bullpen this year at all. And when Morrow didn’t make the initial 60-man roster, it seemed pretty clear that he would not be playing with the Cubs this year. So, then, if he’s not going to play with the Cubs this year, and he’s on a minor league deal for this season only, a release this week makes sense. Minor league deals for vets tend to have certain retention clauses for the first week of July that come with opt-out rights and/or bonus payments, so this is when it was going to happen.
Morrow, 35, signed with the Cubs before the 2018 season, and was as dominant as you’d hope he could be for a couple months. But a back injury here, an arm injury there, and a setback there-there, and his season was over. From there, while trying to rehab his way into contributing in 2019, he had more setbacks, and that season was a wash. He’s had some medical procedures done over the course of the last year and a half to try to get back on track, but it just hasn’t happened for him. You know the talent in that arm when he’s healthy, so you’d love to think he could contribute for some team in the future. But the health might just not let him.
It’s a bummer this relationship didn’t work out. Who knows what comes next for Morrow. But, all the best.
UPDATE: There may have been another health issue over the past few months (Morrow had a nerve procedure last year, too):
Brandon Morrow had a minor nerve procedure and would take a bit of time to ramp up so with a 60-game season it made sense for the Cubs to release him, as they have done. Morrow is only on pause and does intend to pitch next year. @ByRobertMurray 1st
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 8, 2020