The Blue Jays acquired pitcher Brandon Morrow from the Mariners for reliever Brandon League and minor league outfielder Johermyn Chavez today. The agreement was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports on Monday, while MLB.com's Jordan Bastian added the Chavez detail yesterday.
Morrow, 25, has a 3.96 ERA, 9.3 K/9, and 5.7 BB/9 in his 197.6-inning big league career. The hard-throwing righty was drafted fifth overall by the Mariners in '06. He made the team's Opening Day roster in '07 as a reliever, and stayed in that role to open the '08 season due to the Erik Bedard acquisition. He dealt with a shoulder injury that year. In August of '08 he transitioned to starting. Elbow issues surfaced in the spring of '09, but once healthy Morrow was back in the 'pen. He was sidelined by biceps tendinitis shortly thereafter, and it was back to starting in June. Morrow has a pretty serious injury history in his big league career; it's difficult to determine if the frequent role-switching was the cause or the effect. He is not yet arbitration-eligible and is under team control through 2013. Chavez, who turns 21 next month, hit .283/.346/.474 last year in A ball.
League, 27 in March, has a 4.09 ERA, 6.9 K/9, and 3.2 BB/9 in 202.3 career relief innings. League also throws in the mid-90s, and has a strong career groundball rate of 62%. He's had an up-and-down career, oddly posting his best peripherals in '09 (3.6 K/BB) alongside a 4.58 ERA. League had a shoulder injury that cost him most of '07. He's under team control through 2012.
The Blue Jays come out ahead on this one. Morrow is an obvious health risk, but he still has frontline starter potential. It's a gamble worth taking at the cost of a reliever and a prospect. Perhaps the Mariners believe it's all downhill from here for Morrow.