Brandon Morrow Rumors


AL East Links: Red Sox, Jays, Rays, Rivera, Martin

Who would have guessed that two AL teams would hand out $200MM+ contracts this winter, and neither of them would reside in the AL East? Here's the latest from the only division with three 90-win teams in 2011...

  • The Red Sox have checked in with Edwin Jackson and maintain interest in Roy Oswalt, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). They're also looking at some infielders.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm that he doesn't anticipate a move to upgrade the starting rotation before Spring Training (Twitter links). "I wouldn't expect us to do anything else. Maybe adding a reliever is probably the only thing I think we have a chance at doing," said the GM a few hours before signing Francisco Cordero.
  • In an interview with Jim Duquette and Jeff Joyce of MLB Network Radio, Anthopoulos said that Brandon Morrow's work ethic was one reason why the Blue Jays signed him to an extension. "I haven't been doing this very long ... but the mistakes we have made, we haven't necessarily put as much stock into someone's character and the work ethic," he said.
  • Anthopoulos also acknowledged that the Blue Jays would be able to support a high payroll down the road, but they're "not there yet right now."
  • Rays president Matt Silverman told Marc Topkin of The Tampa Times that they haven't found a deal to trade one of their excess starters yet, but that doesn't mean they aren't still looking (Twitter link).
  • Yankees closer Mariano Rivera hinted at retirement during Jorge Posada's retirement press conference today, reports MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "[It's] the same thing; just knowing that it's time to go," Rivera said. "You just have to accept that. I mean, I love the game and I have the passion for the game, but when the time comes and you have to go, you have to go."
  • WEEI.com's Alex Speier wrote about the Red Sox in the wake of the Prince Fielder signing, saying they preferred trading for Adrian Gonzalez last offseason to waiting for this year's crop of free agent first baseman.
  • Prior to avoiding arbitration with a one-year deal, the Yankees and Russell Martin discussed a two-year contract according to WFAN's Sweeny Murti (on Twitter).



Blue Jays Extend Brandon Morrow

11:20am: Morrow will earn $4MM in 2012 and $8MM in 2013 and 2014, Mike Wilner of Sportsnet Radio FAN 590 in Toronto tweets. There's a $10MM option with a $1MM buyout in 2015 for a total guarantee of $21MM.

7:30am: The Blue Jays have signed right-hander Brandon Morrow to a three-year, $20MM extension, the team announced. The deal includes a 2015 option for $10MM. The Blue Jays and the Wasserman Media Group client were known to be nearing an agreement last night.

Brandon Morrow - Blue Jays

Morrow, who is arbitration eligible for the second time, had filed for a 2012 salary of $4.2MM, while the Blue Jays had countered at $3.9MM. The contract buys out both of his remaining seasons of arbitration eligibility and at least one free agent season.

The Blue Jays moved Morrow (pictured) to the rotation full time in 2010, soon after acquiring him from the Mariners for for Brandon League and Johermyn Chavez. In two seasons as a starter, the 27-year-old owns a 4.62 ERA with 10.5 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 over the course of 325 2/3 innings.

Despite Morrow's ability to overwhelm opposing hitters -- he led the American League in K/9 last year -- he has posted below-average ERAs since joining the rotation. SIERA (3.31) and xFIP (3.53) suggest his ERA of 4.72 could have been considerably lower in 2011. There's reason for the Blue Jays to expect some improvement in terms of ERA, even if Morrow continues under-performing his peripheral stats. Though he's a fly ball pitcher (36.0% ground ball rate in 2011), he hasn't been particularly homer-prone (21 home runs in 2011).

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined Morrow as an extension candidate last August and his prediction (a three-year, $19MM deal with an $11MM option) came extremely close to the actual numbers. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet first reported that the sides were nearing a three-year, $20MM extension.

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.



Blue Jays Close To Extension With Brandon Morrow

The Blue Jays are close to a three-year, $20MM contract extension with Brandon Morrow, reports Shi Davidi of Rogers Sportsnet (Twitter link).  The deal also contains a $10MM option for 2015 (with a $1MM buyout) and the contract could be announced as soon as tomorrow.

The extension would cover Morrow's remaining two arbitration years and at least his first year of free agency.  Morrow has a 4.62 ERA, a 10.5 K/9 rate and a 2.82 K/BB ratio in two seasons and 56 starts with Toronto, pitching a career-high 179 1/3 innings in 2011.  I examined Morrow as an extension candidate last August and my prediction (a three-year, $19MM deal with an $11MM option) came quite close to the actual numbers.



Arbitration Filing Numbers

Many players avoided arbitration today, but dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won't go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays and Braves have stuck to 'file and trial' policies in the past. 

MLBTR's arbitration tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights -- players who filed for $4MM or more. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com had most of the info with MLBTR and others also contributing:



Extension Candidate: Brandon Morrow

Brandon Morrow hasn't quite taken the big step towards ace-hood that the Blue Jays were hoping he would take this season, but the right-hander has still has a very solid 2011 campaign.  Morrow has a league-leading 10.5 K/9 ratio, a 3.16 K/BB rate and a somewhat misleading 4.51 ERA (his xFIP is just 3.24) in 20 starts for the Jays.

With Jose Bautista, Ricky Romero, Adam Lind and Yunel Escobar all locked up in multiyear deals, it stands to reason that Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos may turn to Morrow as the next key part of the Jays' future to receive a contract extension.  Morrow, who turned 27 last month, earned $2.3MM this year and has two more arbitration years before being eligible for free agency after the 2013 season.

Morrow's unusual career path could be a factor in helping the Jays get a relative bargain in an extension.  He was primarily used as a reliever in Seattle for the first three years of his career, which depresses his career numbers in the eyes of an arbiter.  Also hurting Morrow is the fact that as of today, his career record (26-25) is barely over the .500 mark and his career high in innings pitched is the 146 1/3 frames he posted last year. 

Combine this with his injury history (a few minor arm-related stints on the DL) and the Blue Jays hold all the cards in extension negotiations.  In fact, all of these factors might even convince the Jays to wait another year to see what they really have in the right-hander.  The club could be content to sign Morrow to a one-year deal for 2012 worth between $4-4.5MM and then look into an extension if he blossoms in 2013.

If an extension did happen this winter, however, a fair number would be a three-year deal worth $19MM, broken down as $4MM in 2012, $6MM in 2013 and $9MM to cover Morrow's first free agent year in 2014.  Knowing Anthopoulos' history, such an extension would certainly include at least one option year, perhaps an $11MM team option for 2015.  Provided that option year was picked up, Morrow would be a free agent at age 31 -- still young enough to score a big contract on the open market.

It was one year ago today that Morrow delivered his 17-strikeout, near no-hitter against the Rays.  Given the hype and promise that surrounded Morrow after that masterpiece, a three-year/$19MM extension seems a bit low for a pitcher with his potential.  Morrow himself might prefer to take the risk and only look for a long-term deal once he's established himself as a reliable, upper-tier pitcher.  Then again, given Anthopoulos' already-impressive history of making team-friendly deals, it wouldn't be a surprise if Toronto struck while it had the advantage and ended up with a future ace at a discount price.



Starting Pitchers Linked Entering 2011

Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Garza, Chad Billingsley and John Danks all went to arbitration for the first time before last season and all settled for contracts in the $3-4MM range. The four pitchers went to arbitration again this offseason and settled for contracts within the $5.75-$6.3MM range. A year from now, they will become points of reference for the class of pitchers just behind them (those currently entering their first seasons as arbitration eligible players). Here's a list of pitchers who could be compared to the quartet above after the 2011 season:

  • Mike Pelfrey$3.925MM in 2011 - Pelfrey already has a tremendous amount of big league experience and a fourth consecutive season of 30-plus starts could push his 2012 asking price past the $6.28MM Billingsley will earn in 2011, especially considering Pelfrey's high 2011 salary. Pelfrey doesn't have particularly impressive strikeout numbers or ERAs, however, which will help the Mets keep the right-hander's salary in check.
  • Dallas Braden$3.35MM in 2011 - Garza was working from the same base salary in 2010 and he earned a $2.6MM raise after logging 204 2/3 innings of 3.91 ERA ball in the AL East with a 2.4 K/BB ratio. If Braden wants to match Garza's raise, he'll have to earn it with another big year.
  • Jair Jurrjens, $3.25MM in 2011 - Jurrjens is well-positioned to ask for a salary in the $6MM range next year if he returns to his 2008-09 level of productivity.

Guthrie, Garza, Billingsley and Danks all had relatively healthy, productive seasons in 2010, which kept their 2011 salaries within a $600K range. A poor performance would have disrupted the pattern and the same applies to this year's class. They have to pitch well and stay healthy to earn raises to the $6MM range. Meanwhile, others will have the chance to prove they belong in the same discussion as Pelfrey, Jurrjens and Braden if they have big years.

  • Phil Hughes$2.7MM in 2011 - Hughes, who has just one full season as a Major League starter, is starting from a lower base salary than the others, so he'd likely need a standout season to approach $6MM in 2012.
  • Brandon Morrow$2.3MM in 2011 - Morrow doesn't have the bulk numbers his peers do, so he's at a disadvantage. But he has flashed dominant stuff and if he continues pitching the way he did from June on last year, he could justify asking for a larger-than-usual raise.

Other starters, including Edinson Volquez and Kevin Slowey, are also entering their first seasons as arbitration eligible pitchers, but raises to the $6MM range seem extremely improbable given their current salaries and career numbers. The same goes for super two players Armando Galarraga, Kyle Kendrick, Ross Ohlendorf and Luke Hochevar.



Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. The sides will then settle on a salary between the team's proposed number and the player's proposed number or go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration eligible players are under team control, so the clubs don't risk losing them - it's a question of how much the players will earn.

Yesterday, 11 players avoided arbitration. We could see just as many agreements trickle in today and we'll keep you posted on them right here and with our Arb Tracker. The latest updates will be at the top of the post:

  • The Padres avoided arbitration with Chase Headley (2.535MM) and Tim Stauffer ($1.075MM), according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter).
  • The Phillies and Kyle Kendrick avoided arbitration with a $2.45MM deal, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The team has confirmed the deal.
  • The Pirates announced that they agreed to terms with Joel Hanrahan. It's a $1.4MM deal, according to Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter).
  • The Cubs agreed to a one-year deal with Tom Gorzelanny, despite reports that a trade to Washington is imminent. Gorzelanny will earn $2.1MM next year, according to Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com (on Twitter). They also announced a two-year, $4.7MM deal with Sean Marshall.
  • The Diamondbacks agreed to a one-year deal with Joe Saunders.
  • The Padres agreed to a $2.535MM deal with Mike Adams, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links).
  • The Angels agreed to a $3MM deal with Erick Aybar and a $2.975MM deal with Kendry Morales.
  • The White Sox agreed to a $5.05MM deal with Carlos Quentin, according to Rosenthal.
  • The Braves agreed to a $3.1MM deal with Martin Prado and a $3.25MM deal with Jair Jurrjens according to Rosenthal.
  • The Orioles agreed to a $5.85MM deal with J.J. Hardy, according to Rosenthal.
  • The Athletics agreed to a $4.75MM deal with Kevin Kouzmanoff, according to Slusser (Twitter link).
  • The Giants avoided arbitration with Cody Ross, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Ross will earn $6.3MM in 2011.
  • The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Jonathan Papelbon ($12MM) and Jacoby Ellsbury ($2.4MM).
  • The Yankees avoided arbitration with Joba Chamberlain ($1.4MM), Phil Hughes ($2.7MM) and Boone Logan ($1.2MM), according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (all Twitter links).
  • The Dodgers agreed to a $6.275MM deal with Chad Billingsley, according to Heyman (on Twitter).
  • The White Sox agreed to a $6MM deal with John Danks, according to Heyman (on Twitter).The Cubs avoided arbitration with Matt Garza and agreed to a $5.95MM deal, according to Heyman (on Twitter).
  • The Indians avoided arbitration with Shin-Soo Choo, the team announced. The deal is worth $3.975MM, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter).
  • The Twins avoided arbitration with Matt Capps ($7.15MM) and Glen Perkins ($700K), according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (on Twitter).
  • The Rays avoided arbitration with Andy Sonnanstine, agreeing to a deal worth $913K plus incentives, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter).
  • The Mets avoided arbitration with Mike Pelfrey, agreeing on a deal worth close to $4MM, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
  • The Brewers avoided arbitration with Prince Fielder and Manny Parra, signing the players to one-year deals, the team announced. Parra will earn $1.2MM, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy (on Twitter).
  • The Athletics avoided arbitration with Dallas Braden ($3.35MM) and Conor Jackson ($3.32MM), according to MLB.com's Jane Lee (on Twitter).
  • The Blue Jays agreed to a one-year, $2.3MM deal with Brandon Morrow, the team announced.
  • The Indians announced that they agreed to a one-year deal with Rafael Perez (Twitter link). It's worth $1.33MM, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter).
  • The Athletics avoided arbitration with Josh Willingham, agreeing to a $6MM deal, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • The Astros signed Michael Bourn to a one-year, $4.4MM deal, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (on Twitter).
  • The Nationals announced (on Twitter) that they avoided arbitration with Michael Morse.
  • The Marlins avoided arbitration with Anibal Sanchez, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter). They agreed to a $3.7MM deal, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (Twitter link).
  • The Orioles avoided arbitration with Felix Pie, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). The deal is for $985K.
  • The Blue Jays avoided arbitration with Rajai Davis, agreeing to a two-year, $5.25MM deal with the outfielder.
  • The Marlins avoided arbitration with Clay Hensley and agreed to a $1.4MM deal, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter).
  • The Astros agreed to a one-year, $2.3MM deal with Jeff Keppinger, avoiding arbitration, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The Astros confirmed the deal.
  • The White Sox agreed to a one-year, $1.6MM deal with Tony Pena, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link).
  • The Padres avoided arbitration with Ryan Ludwick with a $6.775MM deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
  • The Astros avoided arbitration with Clint Barmes, signing the infielder to a one-year, $3.925MM deal, according to Rosenthal.  The Astros confirmed the deal.
  • The Rockies avoided arb with Felipe Paulino and agreed to a one-year, $790K deal, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).
  • The Blue Jays announced that they have agreed to terms with Yunel Escobar on a $2.9MM deal for 2011.
  • The Indians signed Chris Perez for 2011, avoiding arbitration, the team announced (on Twitter). It's a $2.225MM deal, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter).
  • The Royals announced that they agreed to terms with Kyle Davies on a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. It's a $3.2MM deal, according to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel (on Twitter).
  • The Reds avoided arbitration will Bill Bray, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter). The AP says the deal is for $645K.
  • The Nationals avoided arbitration with Doug Slaten, and agreed to a one-year, $695K deal according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
  • The Padres avoided arbitration with Heath Bell and agreed to a one-year, $7.5MM deal.


Full Story |  Comments (0) | Categories: Andy Sonnanstine | Anibal Sanchez | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Bill Bray | Boone Logan | Boston Red Sox | Brandon League | Brandon Morrow | C.J. Wilson | Carlos Quentin | Chad Billingsley | Chase Headley | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Chris Perez | Cincinnati Reds | Clay Hensley | Cleveland Indians | Clint Barmes | Cody Ross | Colorado Rockies | Conor Jackson | Dallas Braden | David Aardsma | Doug Slaten | Erick Aybar | Felipe Paulino | Felix Pie | Glen Perkins | Heath Bell | Houston Astros | Howie Kendrick | J.J. Hardy | Jacoby Ellsbury | Jair Jurrjens | Jason Vargas | Jeff Keppinger | Joba Chamberlain | Joe Saunders | Joel Hanrahan | John Danks | Jonathan Papelbon | Jonathan Sanchez | Josh Willingham | Kansas City Royals | Kendrys Morales | Kevin Kouzmanoff | Kyle Davies | Kyle Kendrick | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Manny Parra | Martin Prado | Matt Capps | Matt Garza | Miami Marlins | Michael Bourn | Michael Morse | Mike Adams | Mike Pelfrey | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | Nelson Cruz | New York Mets | Oakland Athletics | Peter Moylan | Phil Hughes | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Prince Fielder | Rafael Perez | Rajai Davis | Ramon Ramirez | Reggie Willits | Ryan Ludwick | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Santiago Casilla | Seattle Mariners | Shin-Soo Choo | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Tim Stauffer | Tom Gorzelanny | Tony Pena | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Washington Nationals | Yunel Escobar

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Royals, Rays, Burrell

On this date 41 years ago, Major League owners unanimously elected Bowie Kuhn to a seven-year term as commissioner. It was under Kuhn that the reserve clause was eliminated, paving the way for free agency as we know it.

We've got a lot of links to get to, so let's dive right in...

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.



Odds & Ends: Cardinals, Blue Jays, Morrow, Delgado

Some links to check out as Brandon Morrow just misses no-hitting the Rays...



Odds & Ends: Anderson, Penny, Mariners, Zito

Links for Tuesday, as J.J. Hardy hits the disabled list...









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