Morgan, 32, spent the 2021 season with the Cubs, pitching to a 4.26 ERA with a strong 25.9% strikeout rate against an 11.1% walk rate and a 44.8% grounder rate. It was the first season Morgan spent with any club other than the Phillies, who drafted him with their third-round pick back in 2011. Morgan spent the first six seasons of his career as a Phillie, originally pitching out of the rotation in 2015-16 before moving to the ’pen in 2017.
Since moving to a relief role on a full-time basis, Morgan has seen his strikeout rate and velocity increase, rising from 16.8% and 90.6 mph in 2015-16 up to 25.5% and 93.6 mph from 2017-21. He has a 4.13 ERA through 172 relief innings since making the switch. He’s shut down lefties to the tune of a woeful .198/.280/.305 batting line in that five-year stretch, but right-handed opponents continue to give him trouble, evidenced by a .281/.347/.528 output.
Left-handed relief depth has been an area of need for the Astros, and Morgan will give them some additional depth in that regard. Blake Taylor is currently the only southpaw expected to break camp in the Houston bullpen, though Morgan and fellow veteran Zac Rosscup have both signed non-roster invites to Spring Training within the past few days. Even if neither is on the Opening Day roster, it’s possible they could get get a look as the season wears on — particularly if Taylor incurs any type of injury or struggles.