The Marlins made the somewhat surprising decision to designate right-hander Bryan Morris for assignment earlier today, three months after the previously reliable bullpen arm underwent back surgery. As Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes, the Fish simply felt they needed Morris’ roster spot (presumably meaning this winter, as he was on the 60-day DL but activated in order to be designated). However, Morris’ agent, Jim Kuzmich, tells Jackson that president of baseball ops Michael Hill told him to “keep [the Marlins] in mind” if Morris goes unclaimed and hits free agency this winter. That would indicate that the Marlins are open to bringing Morris back into the fold on a minor league contract, though based on his history, many teams would figure to show interest in Morris as a free agent. While he’s not a big-time strikeout arm, the 29-year-old Morris pitched to a 2.30 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in parts of three seasons with Miami. And, on top of that, he has a hefty 58.6 percent ground-ball rate in 215 career innings between the Pirates and Marlins.
Here’s more from the NL East…
- The exploits of Mets reliever Addison Reed are increasingly notable, as James Wagner of the New York Times and August Fagerstrom of Fangraphs each explore. He has changed his mechanics and approach since coming over to New York last August, and the results have been spectacular. Wagner looks into a seeming oddity: Reed has thrived despite — if not because — he puts the ball over the middle of the plate more than other pitchers. Fagerstrom breaks down the mechanical changes in detail and points out that no pitcher in baseball has fired more first-pitch strikes than Reed while also illustrating the difference in the location of Reed’s slider since his transformation.
- Ryan Lawrence of PhillyVoice.com looks back at the Phillies’ 2016 season and highlights some positive takeaways, focusing on improvements from Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Odubel Herrera, Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez. Lawrence also writes that A.J. Ellis has been such a positive influence in terms of not only his receiving but his skills as a teacher/mentor for the youthful roster that the Phils could have interest in re-signing him. As a follow-up, he wonders if the Phillies might, then, be willing to trade from their catching depth — the team has Cameron Rupp starting with Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp on the way — to acquire help for another area on the roster. Lawrence briefly speculates on the possibility of re-signing Ellis then dealing Rupp this offseason.
- While the Braves won’t formally say that Dansby Swanson is here to stay in the Majors, the praise that GM John Coppolella and interim manager Brian Snitker offered for Swanson when talking to MLB.com’s Danny Knobler certainly implies that there’s a belief that Swanson is done with the minor leagues for good. “This is a winning player, a special player,” said Coppolella of the 2015 No. 1 overall pick. Snitker explained that Swanson was promoted this season to prepare him for the 2017 campaign. “That’s the whole idea of why we wanted him here,” said Snitker, who also likened Swanson’s demeanor to that of John Smoltz and Tom Glavine early in their careers. “Now, going to Spring Training, he’s not going to be in awe of anything. He’s getting a jump-start on guys he’ll face next year.”