Sometimes it’s difficult for me to write about stuff without sounding like I just lost a pet, or as if I was somehow further involved in a situation than I actually was. Baseball is an emotional sport, and regardless of how impartial I prefer to be, sometimes things just feel weird for no particular reason. This whole Morrow thing is one of those.
Brandon Morrow, like JJ Putz and Adrian Beltre before him (among countless others, at this point) has always sort of been around. I think I’ll have to be a Mariners fan for at least another two years before I fully settle in to the business of losing my starter “family”. Not that I’m broken up about this trade or anything, but knowing nothing about this Brandon League fellow (I guess he has glasses or something? That’s the extent of my knowledge; I’ve been too busy lately to do any research), and seeing the reactions all over the blogosphere and journalism pool, I just have to ask why this trade was made.
Fortunately for me, Dave Cameron exists. If you read Dave’s post (and you should, if for no other reason than to understand what I’m babbling about here), I’m going with a little of option #1 and a little of option #3. Like Cameron says, #3 makes the most sense in the big scheme of things; but I also think that Morrow’s development was so stymied it was even beyond the capacities of our awesome staff. According to Geoff Baker’s article written yesterday, it looks like the Blue Jays plan to try and further develop Morrow’s starting stuff, and I wish everyone luck with that. I’m sad to see him go, but feel that this somehow makes us a slightly more stable team. I wish I could say I liked him as either a reliever or a starter, but I can’t really make a decision there – mainly due to the patented Brandon Morrow Yo-Yo Action Grip – I just don’t have enough information, numbers or otherwise, to choose.
As for option #1, I have to think that the FO just didn’t want to deal with it anymore, in addition to seeing him as the trade chip he became. What’s to say that we wouldn’t have another season of Morrow not being able to make up his mind, and our bullpen being negated because of it? Maybe I’m simplifying too much here, but based on past experience I just don’t see it working. Though League’s look slightly worse overall, their numbers are similar-ish (where I come from, FIP means something entirely different, but I’m working on it). Perhaps at least some of the intent with this trade was to shift some of the focus in training/coaching to other things, rather than worrying about whatever issues Morrow may or may not have. Baker’s interview is kind of bittersweet – Morrow sounds a little annoyed by the trade, but if he really wants to be a starter, it appears he’s going to the right place (and with the acquisition of Cliff Lee, I have to think that the FO had pretty much given up on him as a starter anyway). If nothing else, maybe in Toronto, he’ll never have to hear the name “Tim Lincecum” again.
Good luck, Mr Morrow. For me, there will always be “what if?”, but Toronto is a nice city, and I will try not to make too much of a deal over their drunken fanbase in the future.