Yikes. This evening, after yet another fucking dispiriting bullpen blowup leading to a loss in Pittsburgh, the Jays announced — according to the busy Twitter fingers of several reporters, including Gregor Chisholm, whose tweet shows up first in my feed —  that Brandon Morrow’s examination has revealed a torn tendon sheath in his right hand, and that he has immediately been transferred to the 60-day DL. Chisholm adds that the Jays will wait to see how the injury heals to decide their next course of action, meaning that if he doesn’t need surgery he could be back in July. But if he does, he’s done for the year.


But there’s a small silver lining to this cloud: soon afterwards Barry Davis of the Rogers-owned Rogers Sportsnet tweeted that the Rogers-owned Blue Jays will be calling up Marcus Stroman, and that, at least for the time being — and for fuck sakes, it will be a short one, so simmer down about it — he’ll be pitching out of the bullpen.

The Blue Jays, Barry Davis tweets, will announce the corresponding move tomorrow.

Fans have understandably been extremely frustrated with Brandon Morrow over the past couple of season. He’s generally pitched well when healthy, despite never living up to the expectations that come with having the kind of arm that he does, but those “when healthy” stretches have increasingly become fewer and farther between.

Thing is, despite nagging issues throughout even his healthiest of seasons, Morrow did make 77 starts over three seasons from 2010 to 2012. But the last three seasons have been a struggle when it comes to health, with a long layoff for an oblique injury (and some truly excellent pitching on either side of it) in 2012, last year’s nerve impingement, and now this. I’ll always be hesitant when it comes to calling someone injury prone, but also it’s not like all of our bodies react the exact same way to the stresses and strains of the extreme forces ballplayers generate. It’s certainly no longer unfair to wonder if there really is something about him, physically, that makes him susceptible to these issues — many will point to the fact that he has diabetes, though I personally don’t know nearly enough about it to suggest that there’s a direct link, nor do I suspect most who like to pontificate about such things do — but I still don’t think any of us armchair doctors can genuinely say that there has to be, and the fact of the matter, he’s now spent so much time not being quite right that figuring all of this out is about to be somebody else’s problem anyway.

In fact, if his attempt at rehab for the torn tendon sheath doesn’t solve the issue, and he needs to have season-ending surgery, it’s not inconceivable that Morrow has thrown his last pitch for the Blue Jays.

I hope that’s not the case, but Morrow is in the final guaranteed year of his contract with the Jays. The club holds a $10-million option for him next year (with a $1-million buyout clause), and it won’t be easy for Morrow to justify them exercising it even if he’s on the field. And it will be damn near impossible if he’s on the shelf. Plus, with Stroman and Hutchison on the verge of locking down rotation spots for the foreseeable future, and Sanchez not far behind them, time is running out for Morrow to establish himself. That he even still should need to says a whole lot, though, doesn’t it?

There’s still a great arm there, to be sure, but at this point the hope is that Stroman comes in and does what Morrow was supposed to be doing for this club. It’s a lot to ask of a kid getting his first taste of the big leagues, and he’s not going to be able to do it from the damn bullpen (but, of course, that’s only temporary — and at least helpful in keeping his innings manageable a bit for however long it lasts), but it’s not exactly the craziest hope, either.

He’s a pitcher to be truly excited for, and as bad as I feel for Morrow, and as unfortunate as I think it would be if he isn’t able to get healthy, come back, and pitch well enough to keep a rotation spot and convince the club to pick up that option for next year, running him out there every fifth day wasn’t doing this club any good right now. And Marcus Stroman has the potential to do a lot of good right now. I certainly wouldn’t say that the Jays are better off without Morrow, but Stroman mitigates his loss tremendously, and at least temporarily gives the club an option that John Gibbons might actually be able to trust coming out of the bullpen.

I’m still not entirely sure why Neil Wagner wasn’t that guy (at least not when they had a chance to recall him today, when Morrow first hit the shelf), but this is fine, too.

No, really! It’s not an affront that Stroman isn’t being moved straight into the rotation, even if it’s strictly out of deference to the veterans in his way. It’s not crazy that they’re potentially letting him be a Super Two — he’d have to be down until late June or early July to avoid that anyway, and this year is too important and much too far from being fucked to have waited that long.

Shit, it’s not even entirely crazy that, in all these roster moves of late, guys like Todd Redmond and Esmil Rogers have so far kept their jobs (not that they’re any great shakes — or, I suppose, that the season wouldn’t be fucked if it came to this — but lose those two now, then move McGowan to the bullpen, as expected, and your starting pitching and long relief depth looks something like: Sean Nolin, Liam Hendricks, Kyle Drabek, Ricky Romero, shoe, air horn, gum wrapper, sack). It’s easy when the team is so frustratingly pissing away games to let negativity oppressively push down on every single little thing, but all this is is pretty simple: it sucks that Morrow didn’t put it together this year and now is hurt, and it’s cool that Stroman is up and will be in the rotation shortly.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need to think any more about it than that.

Comments (407)

  1. I feel like the Pirates are just lying in wait for the 7th and 8th innings.

  2. Bottom of the order.

  3. Pirates deeply disappointed that Gibby stays on the bench. They need him in the game.

  4. 6 pitches!!!

  5. I can’t believe I’m asking this, but just trying to plan ahead.

    Anyone know if Drabek and/or Romero have options left?

  6. Six pitch inning. Very impressive.

  7. Lambchops is no pussy.

  8. He is throwing a 3-hitter. This would be a complete game 20 years ago.

  9. Stoeten says McGowan should be moved to the pen. Right.

    • Stoeten has played about as much baseball as Anthopoulos. Little-to-none.

      • In science there is a principle that rings true: people closest to a situation are the least qualified to manage it. What I’m saying is, I’d rather have a finance market analyst run my baseball club than someone who played 20 years in the majors.

        Most smart people would.

  10. After that 7 pitch seventh, I say bring him out for the eighth too

  11. McGowan. He’s a Strange Animal with A Criminal Mind.

  12. Raptors down by one point, 8 seconds left, Nets ball.

  13. I guess McGowan isn’t coming back in the 8th.

  14. Dickey going to steal second!

  15. Strovertime.

  16. Real refshow at the acc today… Back to baseball

  17. Great spot to get Stroman in asap.

  18. Love the irony of having Stro’s first batter be the last big time prospect we ruined.

    • Amazing.

    • Indeed.

    • Honestly, I thought we gave Snider all the chances in the world. But he can’t hit breaking balls. Loves to chase sliders low and outside.

      • Read last year’s 3 part piece by Davidi and you’ll think otherwise.

      • He was rushed up way before he was ready because the team was terrible and the GM was at risk of losing his job and needed some shiny prospect porn to distract the fans and media. Sound familiar?

        • While true, Snider was a high school prospect, whereas Stroman was a college senior who was so polished people thought he could affect the playoff race the year he was drafted, 2012, were it not for the Jays being the ones to draft him.

          • I take it back regarding college senior–he was a college junior. Still, he was viewed as basically major league ready on the day he was drafted.

            • Yeah that’s true he was slightly rushed but at the same time, but the Las Vegas AAA team was pointless for the organization and I understand the desire to keep real prospects out of it. Snider wasn’t really that bad his first couple of times up. It was around 2010 that he started to slide and that’s because the opposition finally had a book on him. You just keep it out of the zone and he’ll chase.

              I also know that he himself admitted to being uncoachable when he was younger. I don’t fault the organization for that.

  19. Only the season on the line here, Marcus.. No pressure or anything! LOL.

  20. Love how buck and tabby keep calling this a low leverage situation. Have they seen this pen lately? This is basically the equivalent of bases loaded nobody out up by one.

  21. Why don’t they leave Stroman in? He’s a starter by trade so he gets out righties and lefties, and he hasn’t pitched in 6 days. Just finish the game already.

  22. That’s a shockingly quick hook for someone who is supposed to start, in a game with a five-run lead.

  23. I think McGowan has earned a longer leash.

  24. Gibby is warming up Cecil with a 6 run lead! What a surprise the pen is blown out in May!

    Now he’s taking the kid out after 2 outs with a 5 run lead. LOL! #Gibbyclownshow

    • They will option him back to Buffalo tomorrow. This team is nuts. Explosive bats. Number 1 fielding percentage in the MAJORS !! And a 5 run lead is not safe. Wtf ????

    • On the one hand, you’re right regarding stupid bullpen use today.

      On the other hand, your clear anti-Gibby bias has been showing all day long, not to mention you did a terrible job backing up your points earlier, so it’s hard to take you seriously.

  25. c’mon Gibby, why you taking him out? 5 run game. Stroman would have been geared for a starters workload today anyways.

  26. You, sir, are correct.

  27. It would be unfortunate to see Cecil hurt in a game he should be sittin’ watching and relaxing. He shouldn’t rven be in. When Cecil is next unavailable for a real close game not this one, think back to Gibby’s shit bullpen management today.

  28. Is Gibby’s warming Delabar up? LOL


  30. Clap clap clap that’s a win!

  31. looking at McGowan’s pitch usage so far, one of the things that stands out is that basically all of his pitches are either fastball/sinkers at 92-93mph or sliders/changeups at 86mph. maybe that’s one of the reasons for his lack of whiffs this season – he needs a third speed to keep hitters off balance.

    in the past he used an 80mph curve about 8% of the time, but it’s been basically non-existent this year.

  32. Good solid win. The offense continues to mash.

    .500 by next weekend.

  33. Back in the win column! Stroman dipped his toe in water, nice performances all around. Now looking forward to negative comments as if they lost somehow.

  34. Colby’s new stance looks pretty good. 4 hard hit balls today.

    • He looked very comfortable. He was joking around with Seitzer in the dugout too. It would be nice if he could heat up now that basically everyone is hitting.

  35. Like I said…

    • Please don’t say that. The Gods of Baseball already love to shit all over us. Please don’t tempt them to shit on us a little more. Also so far they are #incapableofsweeping.

  36. The Doc Halladay documentary is captivating.

    • really is.

      i like that he’s not recycling old garbage cliches and the like. he kinda went that route talking about the difference between Philly and Toronto, but he’s been pretty original and truthful in his storytelling.

  37. Heath Bell DFA’d by Tampa-Do you think AA goes dumpster diving for him ?
    Christ, he’d fit right in. Hard to believe he got 9m out of Miami just 2 yrs ago. Then again. a lot of peope got miami to pay them, at least initially

  38. Are we back down off the ledge again?

  39. Baltimore, Boston both losing the Jays are only 2 games out.

    Hope to see Stroman more as he looks to join the rotation. Let’s see how Happ performs in his start.

  40. I’m going to put this out now that if Rogers doesn’t pony up to get at least Melky and Rasmus extended, I may have to boycott this team until Rogers sells the franchise. I’d like to see Lawrie get extended also.

    • Melky should be a no-brainer. But I got an itch that somebody is going to go nuts and offer Colby close to 20 mil a year. I don’t know if he is worth re-signing at that price.

      • The dropoff to Gose is acceptable with the rest of the offence as is. If the money is spent elsewhere…

        • I agree. Especially if we can deal Colby this year for either a young 2B or a good #3/potential #2 starter.

          Gose should be fine for a couple of seasons while we evaluate Pompey or Davis as potential future CFers.

        • Anthopoulos did a good job by spending his nickels to get a dollar. Letting Rasmus walk would be a mistake, unless of course he would be dead set on a $20MM AAV. We can’t speak of what the drop off in value would be because Gose has been unable to take away Rasmus’ job. He’s just too good.

          • Agree – if Colby gets hot for an extended period would be looking to sell high on him and get what you can. Let someone else overpay for his streakiness. Sign Melky stat tho.

  41. I have to say, if there’s one really shitty thing about DJF, it’s this:

    “It’s certainly no longer unfair to wonder if there really is something about him, physically, that makes him susceptible to these issues….”

    Anyone who wondered this throughout the offseason was an idiot. An asshole. Or whatever the insult of the day happened to be. But it happened again, and NOW it’s “no longer unfair”?

    Everyone that disagrees with Stoeten is an idiot. It doesn’t matter if you’re proven correct later; it was dumb to think that way until Stoeten says otherwise.

    • I fucking hate people who change their opinion based on additional evidence. Fucking assholes.

      • It depends on how arguments are presented. A lot of the people who shit on Morrow were just as ready to praise Buchholz even though at the time, the two had similar numbers as far as games started over the past three or four years are concerned. So, in that case, people deserved to be called morons, idiots, etc.

        • yep. was Morrow likely to make less than 30 starts this year? abso-freaking-lutely. if anyone predicted he’d only make 7 starts, i’d like them to stand up.

          the Jays are hardly the only team that has to deal with horrible health from a talented player.

          re-evaluating after more data is presented is exactly what logical and sane human beings do. where would the world be if we all made up our minds and stuck our heads in the sand come hell or high water?

          • Does Morrow come back (this year or next) as a starter?

            Seems like he should be a bullpen piece at this point in his career.

      • Way to miss the point entirely.

        Of course one should change their mind based on additional info.

        The problem is when you tell everyone their a fucking moron for believing anything other than what you do. Only to then change over to their side a few months later.

        It’s not the opinion-changing that is bothersome. It’s the self-righteous attitude beforehand.

        • You may want to develop a thicker skin.

        • Testify brother. I thought exactly the same thing when I read that b.s. of his.

        • I think you are still missing the point. What bothers Stoeten is people who have opinions that are based on little more than gut-feelings or talk-show bullshit, and them they yell those opinions at whoever will listen. They almost always involve yelling about how AA, Rogers, Pitcher X, or Player Y sucks. They act as if they know something whereas all they have is some unfounded belief.

          • Add in some confirmation bias, and they end up thinking that their beliefs are almost always right

          • No, I’m specifically talking about the case of Morrow.

            MANY people cited Morrow’s fragility as a reason for needing more SPs this off season. Stoeten didn’t disagree that the Jays need SPs, but he did rail on anyone who dared say that Morrow was injury prone. That was idiotic nonsense.

            But now he’s on the bandwagon. So this particular injury somehow made it OK to question whether Morrow has a greater chance of injury than most players? It was idiotic a couple of months ago, but it’s fine now?

            Again, it’s not that he changed his mind. That’s always to be commended. But it would be nice if it also accompanied a piece of humble pie and the realization that people can have a different opinion than you and not (necessarily) be an idiot.

    • Do you really care what Stoeten, or anyone else on the site, says? There’s a lot of shit thrown around here, whether it’s Stoeten, the various trolls, or me for that matter. That’s the nature of the beast. Enjoy the banter, call Stoeten an asshole for calling you and asshole, and grab another beer.

  42. Holy shit did Cletus put on a show today. wRC+ up to 99 now. Not bad for your 7/8 hitter.

  43. Diabetes tends to affect the healing process. I’d wager that it does indeed impact his ability to remain healthy. Heck, McGowan is in the same boat Look at his long resume of injuries. Both Morrow and McG are insulin pumpers. I also believe that the are both Type 1 diabetics?

    Side note: I suppose with the recent starts of McG (although it could entirely be a coincidence), insulin could be where one would draw the line of what is and isn’t a performance enhancing substance.

    • Diabetes complicates healing, yes, but mostly in people who are either grossly overweight, or aren’t managing their illness. It seems unlikely elite athletes with a dedicated training staff would just be left to their own devices to figure it out. It’s an easily manageable disease when you know you have it.

    • Hasn’t Morrow has like a hundred different injuries? Are we saying his diabetes is impeding his ability to heal injuries he hasn’t even sustained yet?

  44. When did they bring Morrow over? It was before McGowan’s long slide through the 1000-day DL wasn’t it? I would bet they’d think twice about a diabetic starter if Morrow was available now.

    • There’s 16 pitchers who have gone down for the year this year alone needing tommy john surgery

      how many of them are diabetics?

      Diabetes complicates things, but these are professional athletes who have help, time and resources managing their health.

      pitchers get hurt, thats the nature of the position.

  45. So I looked up the ref for the Raps game.

    Just in this year’s round one, he has so far managed to:

    +Ice Kevin Durant during a free throw; Durant subsequently missed the attempt
    +Guarded Stephen Curry on a three-point attempt, actually running to get in front of the try and throwing up a hand in his face (the shot was missed)
    +A bad goaltending call on Aldridge when he blocked a game-tying Durant layup that probably cost Portland the series.

    …never mind all the previous things he did, like the “worst foul ever,” the “Tim Duncan incident,” and other notables.

  46. If they could sweep Philly it’s a winning road trip. Hard to believe.

  47. Pretty good day; besides Jays win, Yanks lose, and Bosox and Baltimore lose outside of the division. Jays have the best run differential (zero) in the AL East. It’s a weird feeling seeing the AL Beast struggle like this.

  48. The new Godzilla looks cool

  49. #longface vs. #roundface
    who’s better at baseball??

  50. CC Sabathia with an ERA close to 6 and his velocity under 90mph. I think his good days are in the rear view mirror. It makes me smile.

  51. For the guy ragging on gibbys bullpen management. On Friday, santos was a closer with the whitesox and was brought in to be the closer, if he can’t close where do you out him it’s not like delabar or Cecil were stepping up this year. On Saturday loup gave up his first run by an inherited runner and the first two hits of the year off him by right handed batters. As anther poster said, would joe torre wave his hand different?

    • It’s not Gibby’s fault the entire bullpen turned decided to put up their best CoCo impersonation for a week or two.

  52. Morrow should be forced to give us back all the money we’ve given him. Useless injury-prone piece of shit. “So much promise” my ass. He is a fucking bum.
    A fucking finger injury and probably done for the year? I never want to see his fucking face in a Jays uniform again.
    Useless disgrace fuck.

  53. Fransisco is such a pleasant surprise so far. I know we shouldn’t expect it to last but per fangraphs the dude has been worth 0.5 wins in 13 games with a wOBA of .400. I’m wondering if Lawrie playing 2B might become a thing vs Lefties once Lind gets back.

    • I agree with how impressive Francisco has looked so far, but he’s been even worse than Lind over his career against lefties. So… I’m pretty sure that won’t be anywhere close to becoming a thing.

  54. i cant believe how many times I called Morrow going down injured in the off season and got shat on. The guy will never be a reliable pitcher, and it was safe to call him “injury prone” from the start. Probably why Seattle dealt him for Brandon League.

    • Fuck. Well I’m happy for you that you can be so smug about a guy getting injured, but those of who are actual fans of the team are less happy about it.

    • Yeah, in retrospect that deal sure looks awesome for Seattle. Toronto only managed to squeeze 9.6 fWAR out of that useless plug Morrow in 532 IP, while League dominated in Seattle with 185 IP of mediocre relief.

      Smart move by Seattle, obviously.

      • you forgot about perennial allstar Johermyn Chavez

        • everyone just got a morrow boner cuz of that one game where he almost threw a no-hitter. hes played good for a few stretches, but you need more reliability out of a #2, #3 pitcher in your rotation.

          • And, as has been stated over and over again, they acquired him for a mediocre relief pitcher. If Morrow never throws another pitch for the Jays, that was still an outstanding trade.

            People aren’t looking at that one game and imagining that he can be something more. People are looking at a stretch from 2010-2012 where he averaged 26 starts and 3.1 fWAR per year, where his actual numbers were good and his peripherals were outstanding, and where he was among the 30 most valuable pitchers in the majors.

            This year and last have been rough, but you have to be pretty dense to think that fans are basing their hopes on one start.

    • You make any money off that? ‘Cause if not, you didn’t call it.

    • No it wasn’t safe. Shittings-on were deserved. Just because he’s added to the pile of evidence that he can’t stay healthy doesn’t mean it wasn’t dumb to act then like you knew anything.

      • gave them one solid year in 2011 w/ 179 IP. the next season when he was worth that high WAR, he only pitched 124 innings, if he had gone 180-200 it most likely wouldnt be so high. Not to mention his salary doubled from 2.3 to 4 million that season, and then to 8 million for the last two seasons, where he pretty much has been bad or injured. thats some awesome value! id rather have another guy who, ya know.. can actually pitch at least 180 innings on a year to year basis. especially in the #2 hole of the rotation where everyone had him pegged.

        • I don’t think you have the slightest idea of how WAR works because this is some of the dumbest logic I’ve ever read here. If he pitched more, his WAR wouldn’t go down unless he was really bad.

          • and your logic must be fucked up if you think that brandon league was all they gave up for him. what about the 22 million dollars they paid for those 532 innings pitched over 5 years? winning ball clubs dont rely on Brandon Morrows in the two hole of their rotation..should have been considered a 4 or 5 guy with his injury sheet and diabetes..

            • Setting aside the fact that Morrow’s earnings have been quite low considering the on-field value he’s provided to the Jays since being acquired, Morrow has earned $22 million for 532 innings during a time-frame in which League earned $21 million for 283 innings.

              I’m not very good at math, but…

            • The Baltimore Orioles made the playoffs with their entire rotation being comprised of number 3 or 4 starter ‘types’.

        • Barry Zito?

  55. Apparently the pirates are still shopping for a first basemen. Since Francisco is playing better than we thought and is 4 years younger than Lind do we trade Lind? Maybe for a young prospect pitcher or second baseman?

    • 55 PAs.

    • Juan Francisco: 55PA, .277/.382/.532 wOBA .400, WRC152 32%K 12.7BB
      Lind: 43PA .324/.465/.500 wOBA .416, WRC 164 18.6%K, 20.9%BB

      SSS.. but I’d be inclined to try to keep both of these bats in the lineup (at least against righties!) as long as possible. On the longer view: Lind was a top 20 hitter in all of baseball last year against righties. As long as the Jays are willing to deploy him properly they shouldn’t be looking to trade him.

      • Francisco has never walked at this rate in his life. Maybe he’s changed something, but I’ve yet to hear what, and even if so, it will take way more than 55 PA to tell if it’s something that he might be able to sustain. Lind has generally been fantastic against RHP. There isn’t really a question here.

        • The walk rate is 10.4% over his last 250 PAs going back to July of last year, which is still nearly double any rate he’s shown before, including in the minors. That’s not a bad sample, so maybe something really has changed in his approach.

        • Re: “Francisco has never walked at this rate in his life. Maybe he’s changed something, but I’ve yet to hear what, and even if so, it will take way more than 55 PA to tell if it’s something that he might be able to sustain.”

          In 277 AB’s in Winterball in 2013 and 2012 Francisco has actually posted an not terrible walk rate.

          2013 150 AB’s 16 BB

          2012 127 AB’s 12 BB

          Discount winter ball appropriately, but not too much.

          Add some “everyday opportunity” narrative and the coaches “like what they see” for a finishing touch, and giddy up.

    • they already traded for Ike Davis

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