The Cubs added Brandon Morrow to a two-year deal. The 33-year-old-righty joins an already deep bullpen and could be the team’s closer if the season started today.
Morrow came out of nowhere last season to be a productive reliever. He pitched in 18 games as a reliever for the Padres in 2016 with a nice 1.69 ERA, while his ERA estimators were closer to 4.50. His 4.5 K/9 added little to his value. He was on no one’s fantasy radar.
Then he busted out in 2017 with a 98-mph fastball, which was up 3.5 mph from the previous season, leading to a 2.06 ERA. His strikeout rate soared to 10.3 K/9 with the help of an above average cutter and slider. Additionally, he dropped his walk rate down to 1.8 BB/9, and he didn’t allow a single home run.
The Cubs hope he can keep up the production for a couple of more seasons. With Morrow’s recent rocky past, it’s no guarantee he can continue putting up decent stats.
Currently, lefty Justin Wilson holds down the Cubs closer spot. The Cubs consider Morrow to be a potential closer but hope to sign another bullpen arm like Wade Davis or Greg Holland. If drafting now, consider the Cubs a split situation and draft knowing the situation is completely up in the air.
The Cardinals signed Luke Gregerson to help solidify their bullpen. While Gregerson is not an elite bullpen arm, the Cardinals bullpen currently doesn’t contain any top-notch relievers. Tyler Lyons and Brett Cecil are currently in line to close, but Gregerson could eventually get the job.
The longball (1.9 HR/9) ruined Gregerson’s 2017 season and led to a 4.57 ERA. If it weren’t for the home runs, the 33-year-old’s 10.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 were decent bullpen numbers. The Cardinals are just hoping for some regression to the mean with the home runs and ERA.
The Cardinals may eventually sign one or two more bullpen arms since past closers Trevor Rosenthal and Seung Hwan Oh are free agents. But not yet.
Gregerson muddles an already muddled closer situation. Hopefully, the situation clears itself up before the season starts.
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