Ever since Brandon Morrow went down with a finger injury – just the latest in a string of injuries he suffered since coming over to the Jays – it was sort of assumed that his days with the Jays were numbered.
The team holds a $10 million option on him, with a $1 million buyout. When the deal was signed many thought the option was a no-brainer, as Morrow seemed like a pitcher on the verge of being a perennial all star. But since 2011 his innings pitched totals have decreased every year from 179 to where it will finish this year, somewhere in the 30s.
Morrow has made it known that he wants to start, and if the team declines his option he’ll likely seek a team that will give him a legit chance to start. Declining his option and signing him to a smaller dollar amount would be ideal, but considering the $1M buyout you’d have to go down to $5 or $6 million just to make it worthwhile. Some other team, and likely a team where Morrow starting is a better fit, will surely give him that at least.
I totally wouldn’t be against picking up his option. A one-year, $10 million lottery ticket is probably worth it. Hell, Josh Johnson got $8 million this year.
Now this is all predicated on the assumption the team can spend that money on him and still have enough to resign Melky and get a solid upgrade in the infield. Those two certainly take precedence over Morrow’s option.
So, assuming that’s all doable, I’d pick up his option and tell him he’ll have a chance to compete for a rotation spot. Maybe you catch lightning in a bottle and finally get that full, healthy and productive season from him – which would go a long way for the Jays next year – or you throw him in the bullpen, where he likely becomes a productive, yet expensive bullpen piece.
And while it’s certainly high, $10 million for a reliever isn’t otherworldly.
But you don’t have to spin it that way. Assuming JA Happ’s option gets picked up you could look at it as spending $15 million on a reliever AND and rotation piece. Things become a little more palatable looking at it that way.
Brandon Morrow’s always been that tantalizing “if only” type player. Although his return this year has been brief, he’s shown he still has the arm. His fastball is averaging nearly 98 mph, and he’s sporting a nifty 2.13 FIP.
I’d take that gamble.