JANUARY 4: Morgan’s deal comes with a $900K base salary if he makes the majors, with additional incentives available, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link).
JANUARY 3: The Cubs have signed left-hander Adam Morgan to a minor league deal with an invitation to Chicago’s big league spring camp, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury (Twitter link).
Morgan chose to become a free agent after the Phillies outrighted him off their 40-man roster at the end of the season. It was effectively an early non-tender, as Morgan was arbitration-eligible for the third time this winter and wasn’t likely to be retained. After posting a 5.54 ERA over 13 relief innings for Philadelphia in 2020, Morgan underwent flexor tendon repair surgery in October. Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune has good news on Morgan’s recovery timeline, tweeting that Morgan is “expected to be game ready sometime in March.”
On a minor league deal, there isn’t much risk for the Cubs in monitoring Morgan’s health and seeing if he can contribute to their bullpen at some point next year. A familiar face will be waiting for Morgan in the pen, as former Phillies pitching coach Chris Young is entering his second year as Chicago’s bullpen coach.
Morgan has posted some decent numbers since becoming a full-time relief pitcher, delivering a 3.97 ERA, 2.84 K/BB rate, and 9.6 K/9 over 133 2/3 innings from 2017-19. Homers have been a consistent issue, as Morgan has a 1.5 HR/9 over his career and allowed three home runs during the smaller sample size of his 2020 workload. Morgan has some pretty significant career splits (left-handed batters have a .640 OPS against him, but righty swingers have an .859 OPS) but he could provide some help to a Cubs relief corps that is thin on reliable southpaw options.