While the Cubs aren’t giving up hope that closer Brandon Morrow will make it back to the majors this year, manager Joe Maddon did not paint a terribly optimistic picture in comments to reporters including MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. Morrow has been out since mid-July with a biceps injury.
Notably, the 34-year-old hurler has yet to begin throwing from a mound. Even if he’s cleared to do so in the near-term, Maddon explains, there’s simply a crunch for time. As the skipper put it, there is “barely” enough room on the calendar for a return late this month.
That’s obviously worrisome news for a club that’s trying to protect a three-game lead in the division and launch an extended postseason run. Morrow, who signed a two-year, $21MM deal in the offseason, had been in excellent form to open the year. In his first 30 2/3 frames in a Cubs uniform, he racked up 22 saves and posted a 1.47 ERA with 9.1 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9.
Whatever one may think of the Cubs’ replacement options when trying to protect late-game leads, the absence of Morrow greatly diminishes the overall vitality of the club’s relief unit. Of course, his long history of injury problems helps explain why the Chicago organization got such a reasonable price on a pitcher coming off of a dominant season.
At the time of the injury, the hope seemed to be that Morrow would only need a brief respite. How the Cubs weighed the uncertainy in plotting mid-season moves isn’t really known. The club picked up Brandon Kintzler and Jesse Chavez, but did not land a pitcher who’d clearly function as a replacement. While the former has more experience as a late-inning reliever, the latter has been far the better pitcher over the last several weeks.
Now, with the deadline to add postseason-eligible players from outside the organization already having passed, the Cubs won’t be able to do anything to bolster their bullpen other than add some late-regular-season depth. Fortunately, there are a few worthwhile options still on hand. Kintzler and Chavez are still beneath Pedro Strop, Steve Cishek, and Carl Edwards Jr., on the Cubs’ depth chart. Each of those three righties has high-leverage experience and a sub-3.00 ERA for the 2018 season.
Perhaps it’s still hypothetically possible for Morrow to return in the postseason, even if he’s not able to make it back before the calendar flips to October. That would be complicated by the lack of rehab outing possibilities, but certainly isn’t outside the realm of possibility — particularly for an organization that recently engineered an even more dramatic postseason injury return.
With Zobrist…Baez….Happ and Bote able to play 2B….I think maybe Murphy wasn’t what they needed….another 2B option….yes he is a solid player and it allows them to be creative with the other options moving them to 3B or LF….but in my opinion a solid closing option seems more important for the playoffs….it’s like MLB the Show….in my franchise the Blue Jays traded for Arenado while already having Donaldson and the Dodgers traded for Rendon when they already had Turner at the hot corner….some trades make little sense….just saying
Yeah, what do Theo and Jed know about running a ball club. Should have consulted a video game lol
Can morrow play 2nd base
The real question is can Murphy close out games…..
No….but “he gets on base”
Won’t matter if they can’t close out games….unless they figure to put up 7-8 runs per game and not need a closer….
No I didn’t say follow a video game….quite the opposite actually….be sure to re-read the post….I was simply stating that they went after a position of strength but I didn’t say that he wasn’t the best player available because he probably was….I am surprised that other teams let him slide that far….
They got Murphy off of waivers. This wasn’t a July 31st move where yeah sure other closers could have been available.
This was a waiver pickup. Any somewhat decent closer type guy never would have gotten all the way to the Cubs he’d be claimed way before.
Although you could say the same for Murphy which with Russell struggling and KB hurt was EXACTLY what they needed. A guy hitting .360 since July 1st with loads of postseason experience. Cardinals and Brewers never should have allowed him to get to the Cubs. That is an all time bone headed mistake on both those teams.
This may be the worst post I have read on here
Stick around he’s good for at least one a week
Awesome dude, glad to hear it
You’re a clueless fool.
The guy is one of the best hitters in baseball, if not THE best. He has jump-started the offense in a major way, and sets the tone.
When you get a chance to pick up Daniel Murphy, you don’t pass on it because “Ah, he isn’t exactly what we need.”
They’re 8-2 when he’s in the line up. Terrible acquisition. He’s only been there 15 or 16 games.
Baez can play 3rd, SS and first
Zobrist can play 3rs, 1st and left and right field
Happ can play 3rd , 1st and all 3 outfield spots. The entire team is extremely versatile. No other team has 12 position players out of 13 that can play at least 2 positions. Rizzo is the only one thats basically stays at first. He’s played 3rd, and pitcher.
They have 1 catchers that can play 3rd, outfield and 1st. What other catchers can do that.
I feel like that’s factually misleading especially when talking about roster construction. The simple fact is essentially every team has trended towards the way of versatility especially in the NL. And while there are a few teams that lead the pack they aren’t that much different than most contending teams. Yeah they basically have like most teams three OFs (Schwarber,Almora, Heyward) that are relegated to the different OF spots, their infield is very versatile, and so is Contreras. That said compare them to the Dodgers it’s not that entirely different 3 OFs that can play 2-3 OF spots, 2 Util guys that can basically play everywhere, infielders that can play multiple positions(maybe with the exception of Dozier, not necessarily always pretty though which is where sometimes versatility is flawed), 2 C’s that can play more than one position.
What does one have to do with the other? They should pass on Murphy, one of the best hitters in baseball, available on the waiver wire because hey they need a closer and thus should not make any moves unless its a closer?
Didn’t say they should have passed on him….my comment was leaning more towards the fact that they have a hole in the BP not the infield and they had all of July to address it….ending up taking the best player available….Good move but they failed to acquire a shutdown reliever
Murphy was hands down the best acquisition of the waiver deadline. Considering the others featured the likes of Jose Bautista and Curtis Granderson. Only thing that could come close to being as good of an acquisition is either McCutchen for the yanks or Gonzales for the Brewers (and even that’s pushing it)
Good Bullpens shut down good hitters in the playoffs
Not saying Murphy isn’t solid….he was probably the best available player the Cubs could get and to be honest…using see how he got that far….all the way to the Cubs….I am simply stating they have an abundance of players that can play 2B….what they needed was a solid reliever/closer and I understand that there probably wasn’t a reliever out there that they wanted that would fall to them in the waiver claim order….I get that and no they shouldn’t follow a video game because as I stated the teams in MLB the Show make the worst trades….they trade their starting SS or 2nd best starting pitcher for a 3B when they have a top (5 or 10) 3B already….meaning they make stupid trades…I was simply comparing this move to one that the CPU would make on a video game….though they didn’t give up a starter at a another position to acquire 2B depth….point is they still need bullpen help as we all know what a solid bullpen does in the playoffs….
The problem with your statement is that they have an abundance of players that can play second base………..there is not a team in baseball that will win a World Series with Ian Happ nor David Bote at 2nd base. Take them out of your equation—now you have Tommy LaStella (no thanks)…..and the regular infielders….Baez, Zobrist, Bryant and Russell. Bryant has played hurt all year and been out….Russell has been ineffective or hurt, as well. With Schwarber, Happ, and Almora only providing sporadic offense, Zobrist needs to play outfield (and yes, this is all before the Heyward injury). A real “closer” as you wish for—-is/was not available. The Cubs bullpen, especially the late guys has been very, very good all year and is very deep.
A “free” Daniel Murphy was a solid move.
I agree that he was the best they could get….very solid move but with Baez at 2B and Happ/Zobrist as decent depth pieces I was simply staring that it is a position of depth….they obviously put the claim in on the best available player and won the claim….he has playoff experience and should help them in the playoffs….it was merely a statement saying they added to a position of depth instead of addressing other areas….though this move allows them to move Baez to SS….which means they will be solid up the middle….also I disagree that they couldn’t have won the WS with Happ at 2B….see any of the Giants rosters that won the WS and the Royals for that matter…it just takes getting hot at the right moment….collectively
Ian Happ has played three innings at second base. They aren’t winning a World Series with him anywhere near the infield. And you initially talked about getting a closer—-see your statement about the Giants—-three championships in five years—-three different closers….and go back to last year—-that closer Giles of that Astros—-nope, not him—-committee of arms to win it all.
I don’t see how he got that far*
No one said Morrow can play 2B….they at least 4 guys that can play 2B which was my point….geez so critical….
Your point was comparing getting Daniel Murphy to needing a relief/closer option which is moot because if no worth while options came up on waviers, there hands were tied. Once a guy goes on waivers all 30 teams can claim them so since they didn’t acquire a reliever that means they saw nobody they liked or a team with a worse record already scooped them. Getting Murphy was a smart depth move as hes got quite a bit of pop as well as playoff experience.
I agree with this statement B-Strong….I like the Murphy move….but maybe they should have been more proactive before the July 31st non-waiver deadline instead of waiting until August to address the bullpen….Morrow has been out for a while and they knew they needed to address the BP….oh and for the record I am not a Cubs fan….not in the least but I follow all 30 teams and was simply stating that they still didn’t get the bullpen help they needed….
Even if Murphy hits .500 in the playoffs with 5 HRs and 15 RBIs they won’t win the WS without a solid BP in my opinion….good move overall but they needed BP help….if I am wrong and they win it all….then bash me but I doubt they win it all….I would say Astros have the best shot but anything can happen (see Giants WS titles) also not a fan
It’s time to stop posting.
Who in the nl has a solid bullpen? Besides nobody from the National League will make it last the big three In the American League
On paper, yes. Anything can happen in playoffs and that’s why we play the games. My cardinals weren’t supposed to get past tigers in 2006 nor rangers in 2011. Anything can happen. And cards had no room for Murphy without blocking homegrown or young talent. So why would they claim Murphy and risk payment no for a guy who doesn’t play? Murphy is helping cubs but they will win or not win without him. He is not a difference maker at all for them.
Morrow not making it through a whole season as closer should not surprise anyone. Huge overestimation on Epstein’s part. If Morrow doesn’t make it back for the playoffs, you can stick a fork in that bullpen.
Not really. He only pitched for awhile with them and they’ve done ok without him
Agreed….my point was they waited until the waiver deadline to acquire a position of strength when they could have acquired a reliever in July knowing Morrow wasn’t coming back anytime soon….boom
With all the garbage that’s hit this team this year (hardly any production from Darvish, Chatwood, losing Morrow in mid season after he flew out of the gate like crazy, Hendricks having a terrible start to the season, Bryant looking average at best and supplying little power, Contreras appearing to be very ordinary and nothing like the player that carried the 2017 team until he pulled his hamstring, Rizzo start to the season if not through June, a big no-show from Russell and Schwarber proving he belongs on some AL team- through all this, Joe Maddon has kept this team up and climbing. This is his best managerial job since coming to Chicago. So yeah, big loss losing Morrow but we have 82 W’s I think this can sometimes galvanize a team. Make it tougher with everyone pulling harder. Not so fast with that fork.
We? Are you on the team. We have 82 wins. Did you have 108 losses in a row?
No team in MLB history has lost 108 in a row
Garbage didn’t hit the Cubs. The front office made a series of catastrophic mistakes, mistakes so costly they would have sunk any mid to small market team for years to come. Yu Darvish has…what would you like to call it?…an extremely fragile emotional makeup, Marrow has an injury history, Chatwood has the same control problem he’s had before he joined the Cubs. Non of these should have been surprises, and if they were, why were they? When there is nearly unlimited money to pay for do-overs, and a fan base and media…both local and national…that insists on turning a blind eye to these nine figure mistakes but instead crows about end of season rentals and waiver deals, it’s a lot easier to be a baseball genius.
Next year, the Cubs are just going to have to pony up for a young controllable closer that can strike fear in the hearts and minds of opposing teams. Because, right now, they definitely don’t have that.
This bullpen is really starting to worry me. Aside from Cishek and Chavez, there really isn’t a largely reliable guy.
I’m not counting Strop, either, because every single time he comes in, he has to walk a guy, hit a guy, give up a single, and almost give you a heart attack.
He’s gotten much better at mopping up his own messes, but Jesus, man. Get it together.
Some of u on here get it…others do not….we all have our opinions but in the end the Cubs will not be playing in October….
Djones gets it….
Someone could say Mike Trout is the best player in the MLB and someone on here would bash them for saying that….geez sone people need to get a clue like Kayrall for instance
Some people on here and by that I mean most….are very critical of everything anyone else says….because we live in a confrontational world now….but I must say none of us would be on this site if we weren’t knowledgeable of sports (MLB) or whatever….though some may just come here to troll….saying Trout is overrated etc but I think most would agree he is the best overall player in Baseball….those who disagree might be trolls or just people without knowledge or even people who know he is the best but like to debate over everything even the sky bring blue or grass being green….my point wasn’t that Murphy was not a good pickup….he definitely was a solid acquisition and he surprisingly talked all the way to the Cubs….but my point was merely that they had all of July to acquire a reliever….didn’t have to be a closer….Blake Parker type that can shut a team down….I don’t know anything about baseball with my back to back 19-3 seasons in fantasy or the fact that I know what a player will do the following season before they even know….of course barring injuries or freak seasons such as Brady Anderson hitting 50 HRs or Matt Carpenter hitting over 35 HRs this season already when I had him around 16-23 for the season like most people with my knowledge….it was a good estimate but he went off Brady Anderson style….no one could have guessed that….I am usually pretty close on my estimations though for most players….that said I know Murphy is solid….the best player available at the time but I never said a time frame in my original post….I just said they needed BP help which they clearly do….and some no life people on here took it as if I said “bad acquisition” not sure how that was determined from my post….which clearly stated they have several players that can be interchanged and they added another (which isn’t a bad thing) but they didn’t add what they truly needed in JULY….I didn’t say they didn’t acquire a BP piece by the August deadline as none were made available that would have fallen to them….I meant by the July 31st non waiver deadline….they needed a BP piece then adding Murphy would be even smarter as they have a good player that can get them the lead so their BP can hold that lead….I am sorry that done of u cannot read into a post and get what someone’s post really meant….
A lot Chicago hot air here Lol,everyone in the National League has issues it all up for grabs,Morrow is big loss for Post Season
The AL has the advantage either way with the big 3 teams and even the Indians with their pitching could be a threat….so instead of arguing over everyone’s posts just try to find a solid point in the post….or keep quiet about it….to be honest I don’t even like the Cubs as I follow every team in the MLB….not one in particular….though the Cubs are not my favorite team I also don’t hate them….so this move doesn’t affect me as it obviously did some of u….I just think they missed out on a shut down reliever….that’s all….