Archive for the ‘Brandon Morrow’ Category

morrowhand

According to my Twitter feed, and the various Jays beat grunts who populate it, Alex Anthopoulos spoke to the media ahead of tonight’s game in Philadelphia, and offered a few interesting updates…

Brandon Morrow

Well… sure, OK. Obviously there are some huge grains of salt needed here — nobody knows precisely how Morrow is going to recover (and his diabetes complicates things), plus Anthopoulos may not want to indicate that he’s more desperate for pitching than he really is, and he may simply be putting on an optimistic face — but that’s better news than bad news.

No, really. I know that when word arrived over the weekend that Morrow might be out for the year, a lot of fans seemed oddly relieved and glad to hear that the experimenting was over and of the possibility that the club won’t be hanging their hope on him for yet another season next year (given the unlikelihood of their picking up his $10-million option for 2015 if he were to miss the rest of the year). I do entirely get why, on a visceral level, knowing full well how frustrating he can be to watch pitch when he’s not going right (and how often that happens to be), people might tend to think that way. But it’s also ridiculous. Having a Morrow healthy and on the roster is a much better thing than not, and if your personal best case scenario is that, when he gets back, the rotation is rolling with Stroman and McGowan, and everybody’s healthy, so they just slide Morrow to the bullpen, that’s totally fine.

Shit, it’s probably my best case scenario, too.

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stromanthrowsFLA

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.

Ugh.

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.

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morrowhidden

Brandon Morrow has hit the DL. John Lott of the National Post was the first to tweet it, as far as my feed was concerned, but several reporters knew something was up beforehand, as Chad Jenkins had returned to the club this afternoon, with no corresponding move announced.

The Jays officially are calling it a right finger sprain, and, somewhat unfortunately, Gregor Chisholm tweets that Morrow felt something pop in his right index finger last night, and that he’s already in Arizona getting an MRI from his personal doctor, while Scott MacArthur adds that it happened in the fifth inning. So, naturally, I say it’s unfortunate because, assuming this is all really what’s happened — and at this point we have no reason not to — it does nothing to explain Morrow’s right-arm shittiness prior to last night’s fifth inning.

Sigh.

The Jays will simply go to a five man rotation, apparently, with J.A. Happ — who was already scheduled to start Monday in Philadelphia — simply taking a regular turn. Not sure why getting guys an extra day of rest is suddenly so unimportant, but I suppose that makes at least as much sense as all of the other roster management this club has undertaken lately — which is to say: enough, but not a whole lot.

So… Happ and McGowan are now in a battle to avoid getting replaced by Marcus Stroman, basically. And hopefully it’s a battle that doesn’t last terribly long — though, of course, that would mean one of the two (let’s be honest: likely Happ) getting himself shitbombed in one of his next couple starts. But hey, this team can afford to keep pissing away games, right?

I’d say that the Jays sure, bizarrely, seem to think so, given the presence of Happ, but while all this stuff with Morrow was going on, reporters were also learning that Sergio Santos has been removed as the club’s closer and that they’ll go with a closer-by-committee approach until Casey Janssen gets back. Barry Davis appears to have been the first to provide a tweet. I said the other day — and have been adamant all along — that I have all the time in the world for Santos, but… um… yeah, this is a move that had to be made. Gotta stop the bleeding… except where we don’t, I guess.

Oh yeah, and Dioner Navarro remains day-to-day with a strained quad muscle — though, according to a tweet from Gregor Chisholm, he’s available to pinch hit, if needed.

Also: it seems like John Gibbons would prefer to see Stroman here, as he’s quoted in John Lott’s story in the National Post last night, explaining that the club is having bullpen troubles because ”there’s no question, it’s a different look down there without Janssen … and McGowan not being down there. It’s a totally different look and I think we’re suffering for it.” (Hey, but imagine this: what if McGowan and Stroman get humming in the rotation while Morrow is on the shelf — do the people bizarrely making too-soon calls to see Morrow in the bullpen get their wish?)

Aaaaaaaaand Brett Lawrie doesn’t seem to like playing second base too much, according to another item from the Post. “ It’s for the team and if we can get an extra bat in there and it gives us a chance to win, then that’s what it has to be,” he told reporters yesterday, while also saying ““I’m a third baseman. I’m not a third base/second base type of guy. I’m a third baseman and that’s my position.”

Fun times! Hey, but at least you probably turned the game off last night before the 9th inning, assuming that they’d won. That probably felt pretty good, right? Right???

The real fucked up thing is, though, that the Jays are just 13-16 and only three games back in the division with five months still to play. So this all feels a lot worse than it really is, probably.

No, it’s not good that Happ is now a fully fledged member of the rotation, but it’s not like Morrow was doing them any fucking good either. And yeah, they’ve already pissed away more games than a team like this can probably afford, but the fact that so often the only difference between a win and a loss has been a hot garbage impersonation from talented relievers out of a bullpen that’s a legitimate strength of the club isn’t nothing.

It’s not good, but it’s not terribly difficult to see that the record doesn’t entirely reflect how well most of the team has played, and that it wouldn’t be surprising at all if they put together a run where they looked pretty alright. Negative shitheads, of course, won’t see it that way, and will want to make grand dumb pronouncements about everything, I’m sure — after all, what negative shithead doesn’t want to be able to crow all winter about how fucked they knew the team was all along, no matter how dumbly early he had to ass-facedly plant his flag in such a position? It sure is easy to look right calling a struggling team projected to be a middling team fucked at a season’s early stage in a sport where only a small percentage of clubs make the playoffs, and to feel like big tough smart guy attuned to some higher plane of insight than the rest of us hopeless dumb optimists, but that really only makes the person doing so as dumb as he (or she, but… let’s be honest, he) is a total fucking pissy pile of human garbage.

Again: last year’s Jays came from being 13-24, nine-and-a-half games out, to reset the schedule, get over .500, and within three games of the Wild Card — tied then with a team that did make the playoffs. That doesn’t mean it’s not really fucking hard to sustain that kind of pace from there out (and yes, I’m being arbitrary endpoint-y here), but it’s not remotely impossible, and this ain’t remotely as bad as that was. Shit, from the point of 13-24 on last year the Jays went 61-64, and that was while variously missing a month or more from: three fifths of their rotation, Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, Steve Delabar, Sergio Santos, plus at least two weeks of Brett Lawrie, Brett Cecil, and Edwin Encarnacion, not to mention the fact that it was then still six weeks before Jose Reyes returned.

So… not that the vast majority needs to hear this anyway, but let’s all just relax and enjoy some baseball.

Consider this your game threat.

02-DarthFarrell

The Jays take on the Red Sox in yet another untelevised bout of weekday afternoon baseball-ish, and apparently Jerry Howarth said on the radio earlier today that Ryan Goins and Moises Sierra “are the building blocks of the future” and that “Goins is going to be a plus no matter what he hits.”

Ugh.

Also: Mike McCoy!

And I Thought Wednesday Was Rock Bottom…

Though it was only Ervin Santana that the Jays missed out on this week, it really wasn’t only about Ervin Santana. Wednesday’s acquisition by the Atlanta Braves of the mid-rotation innings eater that the Jays’ own staff is fucking screaming for (figuratively, I mean, although maybe even literally too) was about as low as it was going to get for a while, I thought. Then yesterday, I saw this. It’s a year old, and apparently I was shown it at the time and was all FFF, dickholes! World Series here we come! WHOOOOOOOO!, but actually taking it seriously was new to me, and… holy fuck, talk about a gut punch.

According to the New York Daily news, well… this:

Here’s a snapshot of how high the Mets are on d’Arnaud: Alderson said that he tried to get two specific players from an unnamed team for Dickey, but the team balked. But when Alderson acquired d’Arnaud, the team called back and offered the same two players for d’Arnaud alone. Alderson said no, even though the Mets would’ve kept the other players acquired from Toronto.

If you’re unclear, what they’re basically saying is that they value Travis d’Arnaud alone more than they did R.A. Dickey, which leads us to the question, then, why the fuck is Noah Syndergaard a Met???

Reading it so rigidly is slightly misleading, of course, because you need to account for positional scarcity, needs of the roster, goals for the upcoming season, the timing of when these offers were made, things of that nature. And who knows if it’s even accurate — Alderson could just be pumping his own tires or d’Arnaud’s here. But seriously! They asked for two players for Dickey that they wouldn’t give up for d’Arnaud. Meaning, they could have had those two players they’d have taken for Dickey, plus Syndergaard, but they valued d’Arnaud so astonishingly highly that they wouldn’t do it. As in: higher alone than the two players they felt were enough to give up Dickey for. Yet the Jays gave them him plus another prospect of equal or higher value.

Wrapped your mind around it yet?

We’re always hearing about the Jays and their due diligence, but that can only go so far, especially when they’re competing with other clubs to make the best offer in a trade. It’s certainly plausible that Anthopoulos didn’t know that the Mets had asked the team about these two players. It’s also plausible that he got schooled by the old man. Ugh.

Scuttlebutt

Jeff Blair spoke about Brandon Morrow on the radio today — audio here — because he noticed Morrow’s name missing from clubhouse charts listing where pitchers are scheduled to be over the coming days. His first instinct was to believe he was hurt, he says, but that isn’t the case. He explains that “it appears now as if there has been an alteration in the Blue Jays rotation heading into the season, and effectively it looks as though Brandon Morrow is the fifth starter. It looks as if Drew Hutchison has a shot at getting the second game in Tampa Bay.”

“This much is pretty apparent after talking to people around the Blue Jays for the last three days: Brandon Morrow is on a pretty short leash here. I think he knows that. I think he realizes that there are a lot of eyes on him this spring.”

It’s true that Morrow’s spring hasn’t been great, and that last year was a total write off, and that tough love is very probably the way to go with him for a somewhat exasperated organization who desperately need him at this point? Sure. But he last pitched in the big leagues in May, so I think it’s somewhat forgivable that he hasn’t been entirely sharp as yet. But yeah, he’s kinda got to get his shit together.

And now the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

DH Jose Reyes (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
1B Dan Johnson (L)
SS Ryan Goins (L)
2B Chris Getz (L)
3B Munenori Kawasaki (L)

RHP Drew Hutchison

Boston Red Sox

CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (L)
3B Jonathan Herrera (S)
DH Mike Carp (L)
1B Mike Napoli (R)
LF Jonny Gomes (R)
RF Corey Brown (L)
C Ryan Lavarnway (R)
SS Brock Holt (L)
2B Mike McCoy (R)

RHP Clay Buccholz

morrowblue

Not horribly unsurprising news here, but in speaking with reporters ahead of today’s afternoon game with the Yankees, John Gibbons said that the club doesn’t expect to see Brandon Morrow or Melky Cabrera return to the field for them this season.

According to the tweetings, like this one from Barry Davis of Sportsnet, the club does expect to see Colby Rasmus, Jose Bautista, Dustin McGowan, Maicer Izturis, and Steve Delabar return.

What impressively awful seasons for Cabrera and Morrow! In fact, they were included among the seven key underperformances/absences I used in this little tidbit, which you may not have seen buried in yesterday’s Griff Bag:

Morrow, Johnson, Dickey, Cabrera, Reyes, Lawrie and Izturis– seven players who accumulated 21 wins above replacement in 2012, per Baseball Reference, and this year have been worth -1.6 combined.

Ugh.

But hey, this is all Gibby’s fault, right? Or it’s because, like John Farrell says, the Jays only care about tools and not mental make-up and fundamentals, or whatever was yammering about in those quotes from yesterday that the Fan 590 has been talking about for, seemingly, hours.

morrowdown

I don’t have much more to offer on this topic than the question posed by the headline of this post, but here goes…

Before last night’s game, Alex Anthopoulos had a lengthy chat with the media hordes on a variety of topics, one of which was the status of Brandon Morrow, who seemed to fall off the face of the earth after his early exit from a May 28th start.

By way of John Lott’s piece in the National Post, Anthopoulos explains:

Asked if he is optimistic that Morrow can pitch again this season, Anthopoulos replied: “It’s hard to be at this point. I’m just being honest. He just hasn’t been able to get it going.

“He feels better. It’s certainly improved from where he was but he just doesn’t feel 100%. I ask our trainers: ‘It seems like we’ve given him so much rest. Should he not be 100% at this point?’ It’s tough to know how everyone’s body recovers and so on. We’ve taken MRIs multiple times and all we’ve seen is inflammation.”

Morrow is undergoing further tests, Anthopoulos said.

So it’s some kind of mystery injury, right?

Not so fast. Lott’s piece was updated after the fact to include information that had surfaced in a Shi Davidi report at Sportsnet that surfaced just before 1 AM ET:

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New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays

Something rather striking was somewhat casually slipped into Richard Griffin’s Bullpen post from over at the Toronto Star today, which… uh… if you read the title of this post, you’re already aware of.

In a segment where he gave out first half letter grades to each of the Jays (I give his grading a solid B+, FWIW), Griffin laid this on us regarding the club’s oft-injured starter:

BRANDON MORROW D: The expectations were high for Morrow as he entered his prime years with stuff that could belong to a starting ace. But after a slow start and an encouraging May 4 starts vs. the M’s, he strained his back on a bullpen day — then his forearm and is in the manager’s doghouse.

That’s… interesting. Not that it means a whole hell of a lot– it’s not like Gibbons isn’t going to run Morrow, whose 2012 ERA ranked fifth in the Majors (among pitchers with a minimum of 120 innigs), out there once he’s healthy again.

Still, though. Intrigue! Amiright?

He elaborated slightly on Twitter:

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