The Chicago Cubs have continued their assault on the low-risk, some-upside reliever market, signing yet another arm that they hope can bounce back: lefty Adam Morgan.
The 30-year-old is coming off flexor tendon surgery in October:
Former Phillies reliever Adam Morgan has signed a minor league deal with Cubs. Deal includes invite to big league camp.
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) January 3, 2021
Left-handed reliever Adam Morgan, signed to minor league contract by Cubs, expected to be game ready sometime in March. Underwent flexor tendon surgery in October. Pitched last season for Phillies.
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) January 3, 2021
Morgan, 30, was a starter in his younger days with the Phillies, but became a full-time reliever in 2017. From there, he had three solid seasons as a reliever, but got knocked around enough this past season to get himself non-tendered:
Interestingly, it was mostly just the long ball that bit Morgan in 2020, together with a slight increase in his walk rate. The strikeout rate was still really strong, and his expected wOBA (.329) wasn’t atrocious. Still, his velocity was down from 2019, which was down from 2018, and I’m wondering if maybe that was a sign that things with the flexor tendon were just not trending right (he first started missing time with a flexor strain/a forearm issue in 2019). Perhaps the surgery helps clear that up, and he’s back to pitching competitively for the Cubs at some point early in the season? Morgan also dealt with shoulder fatigue this past season. Sometimes you’ll have that when you’re trying to pitch through an injury issue in another part of the arm – you start to compensate.
You will be SHOCKED to learn that Morgan sports an elite spin rate on his fastball, slider, and curveball (read: not shocked, because the Cubs have been targeting that for years now). If healthy, he’s a guy you’d expect to generate some rough contact (which he did in his best years), and also net a nice number of strikeouts. If the Cubs can get him back to being that guy – just a nice, solid lefty for your pen – then great. That’s a win. But if they can improve him a bit from where he was, given that he’s only 30 and will now be joining their pitching infrastructure? Hey, that’s why you take the swing. I like it, especially given that he might not be “ready” right at the start of the season, which could give the Cubs some additional roster flexibility.
Also, yes, he is that guy:
If you thought maybe you recognized the name of the Cubs' latest signing, Adam Morgan … yes, he is the guy who helped give us one of the best moments of the 2018 season: pic.twitter.com/qFgXkQvZC4
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 3, 2021
Morgan joins the massive list of Cubs reliever additions this offseason: Matt Dermody (minor league signing), Joe Biagini (minor league signing), Trevor Kelley (minor league signing), Robert Stock (waiver claim), Jonathan Holder (big league signing), Gray Fenter (Rule 5 Draft), James Bourque (minor league signing), Jake Jewell (minor league signing), Jerry Vasto (minor league signing), and D.J. Snelten (minor league signing).
You’ve gotta figure the Cubs are getting pretty close to the end of these types of additions, especially given that they still do have a number of good reliever options in-house.